Perry's Prattle

Published: Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at 08:58 PM.

Today marks another milestone in Chipley’s colorful history as the beloved water tower, which has served so faithfully, lies in a mass of steel on the ground after being professionally demolished last night. 

Careful safety measures were in place with the closing of sixth street in the area and of the tower and provisions were made for interested onlookers to remain in a designated place to ensure  safety while watching  the dismantling of the historic landmark.

The longstanding edifice of Chipley’s heritage had not been in use for many years as the town’s source of water supply was moved to the Tommy McDonald Industrial Park when the new water tower was erected there. City fathers were advised a few months ago that the aging water tower was fast becoming a menacing safety hazard and plans were immediately begun for it’s safe removal.

The picture accompanying today’s article, also from the Kyle Ray album of old photographs, was made at the railroad and give the view of the town business district while looking south.   The old water tank stands tall and proud at the time this picture was made and the automobiles, shown in the background, tells the viewer that the date was as early as 1933.

Denny Wright, Chipley resident, told the writer that he was born in 1936 and that the Chipley Water Tower has always been a landmark in his life.

Linda Hayes Cook, longtime Clerk of Court in Washington County remembers the tower all of her life while living in Chipley. She reports that her brother, Francis Hayes, a descendant of a pioneer Washington County Family, and the local barber who is still working, has fond memories of the old water tower:  “He would walk to Chipley from our rural home to see his girlfriend, Mellie Lane. He would then go the water tank late at night to meet the Town Night Marshal, W.D. Sapp, as he completed his duties, and catch a ride home as the officer was our neighbor.”                          

Linda also confirmed, that at one time, some of the youths of the area would climb the tower, especially at graduation time and bravely write some crude graffiti on the tank, usually the initials of the school and the year of their graduation.  Our son, Tim, commented that climbing the tower as youngsters probably brought the training for these young men to apply for a job with local resident, Robert Strickland, who headed the company of installing water towers and painting existing towers.   Tim remembers that several local young men of that era worked for Robert.

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