The original plans to restore the Rengstorff House included building a tank house. In 2002 the Friends of “R” House undertook planning and the construction of an authentic replica of tank houses of the period. The Friends’ fundraising efforts over the years were significantly aided by a major bequest from the Burrel Leonard Estate and the tank house was completed in March 2005.
In the 1800s residential and agricultural water did not come to us as it does today. Farms of this era got their water from a shallow well with a windmill-powered pump, which raised the water to an elevated tank in order to provide water pressure. The elevated tanks were necessary to store water and assure a steady flow since there was not always a breeze to keep the windmills turning and supplying water.
The reason tank houses were built high in the air was to provide gravity flow of water to the home or crop. Oftentimes the lower level of tank houses was used for storage of tools or farm equipment, as shelter for animals, or perhaps a spare room. Our new tank house, standing 29-feet tall, is a grand addition the Rengstorff landscape.