Skip to Content

Details for Benchmark: KU3973

N 40° 50.552 W 073° 55.957 (NAD 83)

Altitude: 151

Coordinates may not be exact. Altitude is SCALED and location is ADJUSTED. (more info)

In NEW YORK county, NY View Original Datasheet
Marker Type:
standpipe tank
setting not listed - see description

Reference Points

Must Read!

Benchmarks may be on private property or in dangerous locations. Obey local laws. By using the services on you agree to this disclaimer.

Saw this Highbridge while driving through the area with Schwandt.


I see this every time I go to Jersey. It only dawned on me recently that it was probably a Benchmark

photoSpooky Photo of the Tower
Early morning photo. Looks like it could be the tower of a haunted castle!

Benchmarking while husband is driving is the only way to go ;)

photoConical shaped standpipe tank

Found in good condition as described. Seen this many times from the Major Deegan Expressway.

photoKU3973 - Highbridge 1898

A drive by benchmark.

I was stuck in traffic and noticed the tower and checked to see if it might be a benchmark

It was and I snapped a pic just before traffic got moving again


[(:)] found walking along river walk edgewater nj. a beautiful day to look across the hudson

Found it geocaching with Harry. Beautiful tower.

Today the NYC Parks Dept. held a tour up inside Highbridge Tower. I've admired this structure for years and today I got to go and see the insides.

The original structure had a 47,000 gallon tank at the top inside the stone tower with two cast iron pipes, one for input and one for output, leading up to the tank from below. The tower, built in 1872, had a steam engine powered pump house nearby - now gone. Water was pumped up to the reservoir (where the present swimming pool is located) and thence up to the tank. This two step process was to insure an adequite supply and sufficient water pressure to supply the uptown neighborhoods. Here's a link: [url=]Highbridge Tower link[/url]

The pictures show the tower with an outline of where the tank was. The inside pictures show the pipes leading up and the old I-beams which were cut whe the tank was cut up and removed years ago. The visitors platform is about where the middle of the original tank was. Imagine how they managed to build the tower with the tank inside! Now imagine how they managed to get the tank out of there!!

There's also a few shots of the views out of the windows, which were fantastic.

[This entry was edited by Papa-Bear-NYC on Monday, March 19, 2007 at 5:42:30 AM.]

photoKU3973 Highbridge Tower, New York City
photoKU3973 Highbridge Tower, inside, New York City
View of the pipes going up from the bottom and the spiral stairs going around and around.
photoKU3973 Highbridge Tower, inside, New York City
The two pipes from about half way up. Notice the ornate cast iron stairs which are original.
photoKU3973 Highbridge Tower, inside, New York City
View of the top of the pipes. This was where the bottom of tha tank was. A cut off I-beam in the wall (which supported the tank) is visible near the grafitto. The platform on the left and the stairs in the back are modern. The tank would have originally filled most of this area.
photoKU3973 Highbridge Tower, inside, New York City
Remnants of two of the I-beams which supported the tank can be seen in the wall.
photoKU3973 Highbridge Tower, views, New York City
View to the north across the Harlem River to the Bronx. The Alexander Hamilton Bridge (I-95) is in front, the Washington Bridge is behind.
photoKU3973 Highbridge Tower, views, New York City
View straight across the river to the Bronx.
photoKU3973 Highbridge Tower, views, New York City
View south towards Manhattan. The Empire State Building is visible in the center amidst the mid-town sky line. The outline of the Old Croton Aqueduct can be seen going along the edge of the cliff in the foreground center.
photoKU3973 Highbridge Tower, New York City
This shows the location of the tank and the intake and outlet pipes which were inside. The tank is gone but the pipes remain.

A beautiful landmark and a part of the Old Croton Aqueduct system. The Aqueduct was completed in the 1840s and it crossed the Harlem River on High Bridge just below this tower. The water was delivered to Central Park and thence to the distibuting reservoir where Bryant Park is now located (behind the Public Library on 42nd Street).

The tower was actually completed in the 1870s and it encloses a standpipe for the reservoir which was located here (now a swimming pool).

There are two historic bench marks on the tower which were part of the level lines run by the city when it did it's first complete survey 1909-1913. One is a chiseled square (#927) on the far left of the door sill and the other is an iron bolt (#926, which was actually set in 1880 by the City DPW) on the NW side of the tower (to the right of the door) at ground level. See the pictures for details and make sure you check these out. They are not in the NGS database, so consider them "extra credit".

There was actually a third mark set (a brass bolt, #928) but that is now below ground level.

[This entry was edited by Papa-Bear-NYC on Thursday, February 02, 2006 at 5:27:55 PM.]

photoKU3973 Highbridge Tower, 174th & Amsterdam, NYC
photoKU3973 High Bridge and the Harlem River, NYC
View of High Bridge. The Old Croton Aqueduct, completed in 1848, crossed the Harlem River on this structure. It was the first permanent bridge to connect Manhattan with the main land.
photoNYBE+A #927 chiseled square, Highbrige Tower, NYC
The Chiseled square is on the granite door sill of High Bridge Tower, on the far left end of the sill, and uses the front edge of the sill as one side. It is partly under the door.
photoNYBE+A #927 Chiseled square, Highbrige Tower, NYC
Closeup of the chiseled square.
photoNYBE+A #926 Iron bolt, Highbridge Tower, NYC
This shows the bolt at ground level (look closely). Originally the ground was 5" lower, but subsequent repavings have almost buried this mark. This section of the wall is to the right of the door.
photoNYBE+A #926 Iron bolt, Highbridge Tower, NYC
Closeup of the iron bolt. It is 5/8" galvanized iron, set horizontally. Originally set in 1880 by the New York City Department of Public Works, a number of these marks were resurveyed and included in the 1909 survey. Only 3 are known to remain in existance.

This has me a bit baffled. The 1903 description lists the 'tower above the tank' as wooden. In 1932 it is described it as 'a large standpipe of cut stone'... 'Station is the apex of the large conical-top.'
This is the station, as described.

Highbridge tower.
photoKU3973 with GPS

It's the attractive eight-sided tower, impossible to miss.

Documented History (by the NGS)

01/01/1898 by CGS (FIRST OBSERVED)
01/01/1903 by CGS (GOOD)
01/01/1930 by CGS (GOOD)
01/01/1932 by CGS (GOOD)
01/01/1937 by CGS (GOOD)

Control Text

  • The horizontal coordinates were established by classical geodetic methods and adjusted by the National Geodetic Survey in January 1999.
  • The orthometric height was scaled from a topographic map.
  • The Laplace correction was computed from DEFLEC99 derived deflections.
  • The geoid height was determined by GEOID99.

Advertising with Us

Return to the Top of the Page