Millionaire Thomas W. Lawson ordered the construction of Lawson Tower as a complement to his new country estate, “Dreamwold,” at the beginning of the twentieth century. Local legend says that after the Scituate Water Company constructed its steel standpipe, Lawson’s wife Jeannie saw it and asked her husband to do something about the view out their back windows at Dreamwold Hall. Lawson then hired an architect to travel to Europe and research appropriate designs to cover up the standpipe. Recent research, though, suggests that Lawson knew of the water company’s plans well before the standpipe went up, and had plans in mind well in advance.
Conflicting theories also arise as to the exact tower Lawson’s creation was patterned after. Early research showed the possibility of a tower at Stahleck Castle on the Rhine River in Germany as being the template, while new research reveals similarities between Lawson Tower and a spa at Bad Ems, Germany. In any event, the result is the most photographed, most beautiful water tower in the world. And most expensive!
The last decade has seen an enormous amount of activity at the site. The steel standpipe that Lawson covered is now almost completely gone, removed to ten feet in height over the spring of 2002. The tower’s bell system is now being repaired, the bells sent to Cincinnati, Ohio for cleaning and refurbishing, the bell frame being rebuilt, and the chains that run from the ground level console room to the carillon were repaired as well. In the spring of 2004, thanks to CPA funds voted at the Special Town Meeting in October 2003, the bells were refurbished. In the summer of 2005 the Tower was reshingled. In the fall of 2011 solar lighting was installed. giving the Tower a subtle glow. Also in 2011 The Society created a garden memorial to Paul Miles at the base of the Tower, properly honoring an individual who gave so much back to Scituate.