YMCA of Metro Chicago Transfers Ownership of Leaning Tower Replica

November 17, 2015


The Village of Niles will restore the replica and pursue historical landmark designation

Chicago, IL - The YMCA of Metro Chicago is announcing its intent to donate the Leaning Tower replica to the Village of Niles, which has leased and maintained the building since 1995. Completed in 1934 by businessman Robert A. Ilg, the Tower stands 94 feet tall, roughly half the size of Italy’s Leaning Tower of Pisa, which is one of Niles' sister cities.

“We are lucky to have an iconic treasure in our community, and by that I am of course referring to the Niles Leaning Tower, which we are committed to maintaining well into the future,” stated Niles Mayor Andrew Przybylo. “The tower will be a focal point to the recently created Touhy Arts and Culture Corridor Tax Increment Financing District, and once we have refurbished the tower to its former glory, we will pursue designation as a historical site under the National Historic Preservation Act.”

 “We’re grateful for the Village of Niles’ longtime investment and are pleased that community members and visitors can continue to enjoy the Leaning Tower replica for generations to come,” said Richard Malone, president and CEO of YMCA of Metro Chicago.

 The Tower, located at 6300 W. Touhy Avenue, was originally built to conceal a large water tower and preserve the beauty of the surrounding area. The replica and land were donated to the Leaning Tower YMCA upon Robert Ilg’s passing in 1964. In 1997, the Village of Niles completed a $1.2 million renovation project that included the addition of a plaza around the tower with four fountains, a 30-foot reflecting pool, a “telefono” booth and landscaping.

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About the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago: The Y is focused on exercising the potential of each one of us to make healthy choices at every stage of our lives. We’re a nonprofit well-known for our 22 centers, five resident camps, and health and fitness programs. But we’ve also moved wellness beyond the gym to prepare our next generation with the physical, academic and social skills they need to thrive. Our neighborhood base helps strengthen communities through programs offered at hundreds of sites citywide. This work promotes academic readiness, character development, violence prevention, fitness and healthy living. Come to the Y for personal fitness, sign up for a family program, or play a more active role in our community service mission. When you join the Y, you’re part of something big. To learn more, visit ymcachicago.org.