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Leaning Tower of Niles, Niles

#752 of 1,952 in Things to do in Illinois
The Leaning Tower of Niles is a half-size replica of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Located in Niles, Illinois, it was completed in 1934 by industrialist Robert Ilg as part of a recreation park for employees of the Ilg Hot Air Electric Ventilating Company of Chicago. It is situated at 6300 W. Touhy Avenue.
Some speculate that part of the motivation to construct the tower was to celebrate the 600th anniversary of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. A more likely explanation is its original functional purpose, to store water for outdoor recreational swimming pools. In 1960, the descendants of Robert Ilg donated part of the park for the construction of the Leaning Tower YMCA. Other amenities of the employees' recreational park included a wooden toboggan run, which was in decay but still visible in the 1960s.

A study in 2014 concluded that the Leaning Tower of Niles is in need of about $600,000 in repairs.
On November 17, 2015, the Niles Village Board approved a proposal for the village to purchase the Leaning Tower from the YMCA for $10. The Board also approved a contract to spend $550,000 to repair and renovate the building.
On March 15, 2016, Niles voters passed a non-binding referendum approving of the village spending the money to renovate the tower.
The Leaning Tower of Niles contains five bells. Three of the bells are thought to be several hundred years old, and to have been cast in Italy. How they came to be included in the tower is not known.
The tower was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2020.
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Leaning Tower of Niles Reviews

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84 reviews
  • Fun spot to stop for a picture. The tower was built in 1937 - to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the more famous leaning tower. When we can’t travel it felt like a mini (very mini) vacation.  more »
  • This 3/4 size replica of the Tower of Pisa is a fantastic tribute. The marker states that Niles is the Sister City of Piza, Italy. The area is small and is surrounded by a Target, Aldie and a...  more »
  • Half-size replica of real leaning tower of Pisa. Great place to take photos. Its currently under construction so the fountains are not in use. Ill be back again.
  • Beautiful representation of the actual leaning tower of Pisa. It was airy and crowd-less (is that an actual word??!!). Had a lot of time taking amazing photos. Close to the airport and definite place to visit. Highly recommended. One can park on the lots behind Aldi.

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