Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Water Tower, Clock Tower

   When I was a kid in the ‘50 and ‘60s, my family traveled for a couple weeks every summer to see another part of our big country.  After hours of rolling along through endless countryside of grain fields and distant farms, the appearance of a silhouette of a water tower on the horizon was exciting. Slowly the name of another small American town would materialize painted on its side.

  The next item of interest to appear would be a sign announcing the town’s population which someone would read out loud, suggesting the possibility of a stop for gas, maybe an ice cold pop to share with your sister, or a even a delicious bakery treat.  

  At the very least, it meant buildings and people to break up the monotony of the miles, an opportunity to ponder what life might be like living in this little town.   

  The small town we live in now has just such a water tower. It has looked old and rusty for years and we thought it was probably not even used to hold water anymore.  We liked it though, especially because of the fading words painted on one side: “Georgetown A Character City”. Georgetown does have its share of characters!  

  One day in July something started happening to the water tower.  Trucks appeared with lots of equipment and soon a busy crew surrounded the legs with scaffolding and plastic wrapping that hid all from view.  Machinery whined and whirred with metal-on-metal sounds inside the plastic. Rusty dust billowed.  Were they cutting it up to dismantle it or what?  And then ...

  ...then one day they unwrapped it and revealed a whole new look!  Fancy new letters and a logo of the old town clock tower!  
  The real clock tower is on the waterfront and stands over an open air market, in use since 1788.  Behind it were the docks where rice, indigo,
and cotton crops from the plantations were loaded onto ships.  Beneath the tower was the slave market where enslaved people were brought up from Charleston and sold to the planters for work on their plantations. 
  The pictured Old Market Building was built in 1842 and the clock tower was added in 1845.  The photo was taken in 1899.

  In February of 1865, federal troops occupied the town and in this building Confederate officers signed surrender papers, handing Georgetown over to the Union army.  

Today, the Old Market Building is part of our town’s rice museum. The same tree still grows on the left, and behind the building is a harbor with a few working shrimp boats, a lot of sailboats and yachts, and the Harbor Walk which connects several waterfront parks.  


  1. Interesting.........great seeing the old photo.

  2. Wonderful to have all restored, when all said and done it's history.
    Thanks for sharing, interesting post.
    Take care.

  3. I like it to read about the history of places and your photos make it even moore interesting!

  4. Good to see the old water tower renovated. So many small municipalities seem to lack funds for these kinds of projects.

  5. Nice job done on that water tower. You've certainly learned the history of your fairly new to you hometown.

  6. It's great when old icons get renovated. The clocktower and its history are interesting.

  7. Fascinating history. That old water tower, with its projections, looked almost alien-like. Glad they replaced it (rather than remove it all together).

  8. That old water tower sure looks better. Bet you were a great teacher. Things you write about are always interesting. I just looked at your last post too. Congratulations on the 9th grandson. Goodness, at the boys! He is so cute wrapped up in the blanket you made.

  9. Dear Cynthia, thanks for this history lesson. I'm not up to the Civil War yet with my reading/listening to audio, but I'm learning about how Nathaniel Green led the continental troops in the southern battles of the American Revolution. So I'm meeting your state and some of its early history. The book by Joseph J Ellis--American Creation--has a subtitle that includes the idea of the failures of the Founding Fathers. One of these was doing something about the abolition of slavery (in 1787); the other war not "paying" the Native Americans in some way for the loss of their land to the colonists. It's a great book from which I've learned so much. And so when I see the church and learn of the slave market, I think of 1787 and how the framers of the Constitution compromised. Then I learn that Trump wants to teach American history his way, and I shudder. Peace.

  10. That is a really beautiful clock tower. The water tower looks so much better now too. I used to love the water tower in Rosemont, Illinois. The entire water tower was painted like a rose.

  11. Buen avistamiento de aves, en esas hermosas marismas. Es una maravilla ese lugar.