For more than 80 years, the Tower at Unity Village has graced the skyline southeast of Kansas City with its iconic presence, earning a place on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Tower was conceived by Rickert Fillmore as a structure that would provide a much-needed water reservoir while reflecting the beauty of Italian Renaissance architecture.
We needed water to operate the Farm and every time we drilled for water, we got oil and gas. So across the railroad tracks on our property we made an artificial lake. The lake covers about 22 acres, and has a drop of 50 feet at the dam. We did all the concrete work on the dam ourselves, and it was the only one of its kind in Jackson County. This was in 1927. Then we had the water, but we had to get the elevation and the pressure in order to distribute it where needed. So we built the Tower with its huge water tank at the top. It is a symbol and a delight to the eye, of course, but it also makes available a continuous supply of 100,000 gallons of water without which the Farm could not be run and provides seven stories of rooms for office use.
The 165-foot Tower was designed in 1927 and completed in 1929. At various times the Tower has housed a welcome center, post office, credit union, the Unity Radio and Television Department, and displays of Unity Farm products.
In 2011 Unity pledged to restore the Tower and received a generous $3 million gift to fund the first phase of exterior and structural repairs. Additional donations provided funding for the full restoration of the Tower, now home to Awaken Whole Life Center.