Something looms large above surrounding residences and businesses at East Broadway and Randolph Way.

The El Conquistador Water Tower occupies a prime spot in an apartment complex's parking lot across from El Con Mall.

The structure was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1980, so it's going to be parked there permanently as a Tucson landmark.

The steel water tower went up in 1928 to serve residents in the then-developing Colonia Solana neighborhood.

Over the years, there has been some confusion about what areas were served by the water tower.

Many thought the tower provided water to the old El Conquistador Hotel, which is where the El Con Mall now sits, or to the El Encanto subdivision. But old valve maps don't show water pipes crossing Broadway, according to Arizona Daily Star archives.

The water tower received its first makeover in 1932 when Tucson architect Roy Place - who also designed downtown's pink Pima County Courthouse - hid the tower inside chicken wire and plaster, designed in the Spanish colonial revival style of architecture, the archives say.

It was restored again in 1994 by the city of Tucson and the Tucson Pima County Historical Commission, with extra assistance from the Arizona Heritage Fund.

The tower is topped by a weather vane depicting a miner and his donkey.

Contact reporter Andrea Rivera at or 807-8430.