2 years later...'There are many of these in the community of our "new" house. The large big fridge-sized galvanizd steel (?) tank is up there wiht all the plumbing (capped) It was well-fed wiht a windmill pumping up the water. In the 1950's someone hit the mill wiht a car and knocked it over and that was the end of it as city water was then available. This last weekend was there out=going owner's estate sale and we hung about and met several local folks whose houses had that system AND a lady came who as a child was riding in the car that hit the windmill!
I also have a cistern in my attic. It has the plumbing still attached as well. However, I live in Salt Lake City, and I doubt there was enough rain to sustain it, unless they only used it to bath once in awhile! Someone suggested that they would pump the water up into the attic through a window to have it gravity feed into the house. Reading the above post about a windmill makes sense, although our neighborhood in SLC was one of the first and one of the few without running streams nearby. hmmm.. It's a big metal box with what looks like a giant toilet tank float in it! My house is circa 1895....
the metal lining may well be lead... I wouldnt drink anything from it
This is wonderful! Our 1886 has what I called a 'water reservoir' in the attic and a cistern in the cellar. I thought the one in the cellar was for the rain gutters because of the 'holes?' near the base of the house. There was also a cast iron pipe running into the ditch that is 300 feet from the house; I see now that it might be an overflow for that cistern . I don't know if the one in the attic has any original plumbing coming from it but I do realize that we have SO much to explore when we get back there this year! By the way, there is also a small room in the cellar that has what I can only describe as a spring box (for water), must explore that more, too.