Iron Church Towers: what are they?


Well-known member
I would have to agree. A rare glimpse at the functional part of the dome.
Usually hidden from sight by the artistic opulence in a more civilized age.

Before our civilization fell to the crass and functional.


Is that wagon selling water from mount Shasta?


Trucking water in from 250 miles away does not seem economically viable.

Shasta (soft drink) - Wikipedia
Shasta began as The Shasta Mineral Springs Company at the base of Mt. Shasta, California, in 1889. In 1928, the name was changed to The Shasta Water Company. It produced bottled mineral water from Shasta Springs in Northern California. The water was poured into glass-lined railroad cars and shipped off for local bottling.


Well-known member
I know this is just me but what the hell.
Those are more examples of how skilled people were back 'then' than people of today.
They are iron support towers for the domes/towers of saint Dominics church. Far and away easier(and quicker) to erect a fake 'stone' in reality rendered brick and wood tower facade that has no structural integrity onto an iron lattice core than build a stone one, especially the rest of the church is of rendered brick with some ornamental stone work, it seems . Don't know haven't checked took me long enough to find out what the building was called.
It was quite photogenic as there are lots of views of it.
Search Results for 'church tower' - OpenSF History Images - Western Neighborhoods Project - San Francisco History



And here's another church made of brick with and iron core.


But lets run with the atmospheric leccy collector theory why are they always disguised as something else, who are 'they' hiding the truth from, why are there never any devices/system attached to them, why are the wires never visible, what would happen to an atmospheric collector hit by lightening, why are they always high up and not attached to whatever device or system they are said to power, why are they always on the exterior of a bulding and not inside again slap bang on whatever they were powering?

Perhaps its the use (s)of atmospheric leccy that needs to be tracked down not the 'disguised collecting device.'

What a job to find a pre earthquake view of the church but here it is.
OpenSF History Images - Western Neighborhoods Project - San Francisco History
Bugger me they were wood not iron!
One feels such an idiot for just assuming.

“First these men used saws on the timber supports, cutting through until the merest strip of solid timber remained. Then they descended, and again the strain was put on the cable and again the cable snapped. Abandoning the saw, the men took their axes with them on their later trips and wielded them persistently, until those who stood far below, with necks craned, feared that the supports would collapse, and let the tower down on the fearless men, who smoked their pipes as they stolidly swung their axes.”

After four hours of labor, the men and the machine finally pulled the tower down. It crashed through the center section of the church, covering the front entry steps.

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This thread is the result of the post made @Plissken in this SF Thread. What do you think these iron towers are?
KD, to me this shows the renaissance architecture style was not solid stone as in antiquity; as from late 1800's the US started building commercial steel frame buildings (adaption from industrial buildings) and the method to build sky-scrapers was born. Looks like a metal frame from which the outside facing is then tied & "clad" - much cheaper and more flexible in design, the earthquake just revealed the internals: below is simillar from SF County Hall after the quake.

SF_Fire_County Hall tower.jpg SF_Fire_Hall from the Larkin Street.jpg

I suppose they could also be transmission ariels that were "built into" the building.


Well-known member
I think most of us have the intuition churches are repurposed structures.

Here is our civilization's first attempt to reproduce some technology circa 1859.