The Harbin Park Water Tower


The story of the Harbin Park water tower in Fairfield is one of those rare urban legends that is actually based on something that really happened. On the night of May 18, 1991, 18 year old Joshua Paul Trovillo was killed when he fell 100 feet from the ladder on the tower. According to legend, some nights, you can hear him scream, just like the night he fell. There’s also been sightings of apparitions around the water tower.

Harbin Park Death

Since the accident, the city has put a larger fence around the tower, so don’t bother trying to climb it. And since the park closes at sundown, you’re not going to be able to hang out and listen for phantom screams. There have been reports of coyote in the area at times, I guess it’s possible people head them and somehow translated that into someone screaming. More than likely this is just a story that grew from re-tellings of the accident.


Harbin Park is located at 1300 Hunter Road in Fairfield.  Take I-275 to US 127 North, then left on Hunter.


  1. I was asleep at my girlfriend’s parent’s house on Parkway Ct that night. The house was in the cul-de-sac and backed up to the road (Hunter Road, maybe) that leads to the top of Harbin Park where the watertower is. I was jerked out sleep by someone screaming and pounding on the front door. At first, I was in a fog but once my head cleared, I was able to make out that the kid needed help because someone had fallen off the top of the water tower.

    By now he was off the porch and running to other houses on the street. I call 911 and tell them what I know. The operator says she will dispatch a squad car, but wanted me to find out more. I never really saw the kid, but by yelling that I had 911on the phone he actually yelled back from up the street. We sort of pieced the story together and the dispatcher tells me to get him to go back to the water tower to help the police find his friend. He didn’t want to, but I saw him run-up that way soon after. This all transpired in less than 5 minutes or so, but seemed longer. I saw the police flashers go flying up the road and I went back to bed, although sleep was out of the question.

    I did speak to the Fairfield police the next day, but only very briefly. As it turns out, my girlfriend’s mother knew the kid who died and his friend from having been a teacher in the Fairfield school system. I am sort of surprised that this is considered one of Cincinnati’s haunted places. I really hope the deceased is resting peacefully and that his friend has been able to work through any issues that resulted from this unfortunate event.

  2. This was a friend of mine brother. I know she would not appreciate any of this. This was a horrible incident . I remember this like it were yesterday.

  3. Josh grew up in my neighborhood, I remember the racing on the lower side that he did.mmi was younger but when we heard the cars we’d always go running to watch

  4. Josh was a friend of mine and a good guy. I find it somewhat disturbing that they are using his story as a “haunted” tale when it was simply a freak accident at best. I remember this as if it were yesterday and can honestly say that I am certainly glad a higher fence has been placed and truly hope it prevents another tragic loss such as this. In light of the situation though, I’m sure Josh would enjoy knowing he’s the center of haunting Harbin Park, 😊. May he be resting at peace, with a smile on his face!

  5. Josh was good friends with my brother and I knew him as well. I know his mother was just crushed by his death and probably still grieves.

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