Water Towers of the South

Water Towers of the South

As I travel around the southeastern United States with my cameras I find it interesting to check out and photograph unusual municipal (and other) water towers. These fixtures’ designs often have a lot to say about the town where they are located.

Here are a few of those that I find most artistic and interesting.

I’ll start off with one that is most unique! Gaffney, South Carolina is less than 200 miles from the Georgia line. Gaffney takes much pride in their locally grown peaches and I think this is their signal to Georgians that they feel Gaffney peaches are superior.

Gaffney’s World Famous “Peachoid”

The “Peachoid” water tank is located in Gaffney, South Carolina on Interstate 85, and can be seen for miles.

Another favorite is right here in Florida in the town of Plant City. Plant City claims to be the Winter Strawberry Capital of the World and celebrates with an annual festival. The municipal water tower is a bulbous design painted to resemble a huge strawberry. Interestingly, Plant City was not named for its strawberry plants. The city was named after prominent railroad developer Henry B. Plant.

Folkston, Georgia, “Gateway To the Okefenokee” water tower, celebrates their famous nearby swamp.

Not far away from Folkston is Waycross, Georgia, that also borders the Okefenokee swamp. Pogo Possum, born in 1943 from the imagination of Walt Kelly welcomes visitors to Waycross. In 1987, Selby Kelly granted the City of Waycross permission to adopt Pogo as it’s goodwill ambassador.

Wilson, North Carolina’s water tower is an attractive addition to their skyline.

Zebulon North Carolina Water Tower, towers over Five County Stadium, Zebulon, North Carolina, home of the Carolina Mud Cats, Carolina League affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers. (“Mudcats” is Southern slang for catfish.)

Lakeland, Florida, is the home of Publix Supermarkets. Publix supermarkets do a lot of the preparation of their products that are delivered to their stores throughout the southeast in their facilities in Lakeland, Florida. This water tower designed to look like a birthday cake sits across the highway from their baked-goods factory in Lakeland. I’ve heard that the cake’s candles are lighted after dark. However, I haven’t been nearby at night.

Lucky Strike Water Tower is erected above the American Tobacco District, Durham, North Carolina. The district is now an entertainment center.

NEW Addition:

I finally got a few minutes to stop by my hometown since 1970’s water tower to shoot a couple of photos of it. Here is one-

Jacksonville Beach (Jax Beach,) Florida Water Tower. Note the letter ‘A’ in the shape of a lifeguard chair.

I have more of my water-tank photos on MY PHOTO SITE.

I’d love it if you took a look!

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Lizard Lick, Ty Ty, & Nowthen

Lizard Lick, North Carolina, ATM
I shot this photo of a lizard statue on top of an ATM while visiting North Carolina earlier this year.
According to Wikipedia:

Lizard Lick is an unincorporated community in Wake County, North Carolina, United States. The community is located at the crossroads of Lizard Lick Road and NC 97. Lizard Lick has frequently been noted on lists of unusual place names.

The community is approximately 20 miles east of the state capital of Raleigh. It is about 3 miles north of Wendell and 3 miles west of Zebulon.

According to NC historian William S. Powell, the town got its name from a “passing observer who saw many lizards sunning and licking themselves on a rail fence.” Regardless of the town name, local community members who are native to the area are proud of their origins, and their economic future in the area. In May 1997, the state installed the first traffic light in Lizard Lick, marking a new period of “increasing property values” and growth.

Seeing Lizard Lick got me interested in other strange city names that we have in this country. Many times while driving around the country I have wondered how towns got their names. Most city and town names are pretty obvious. It is the unusual ones that pique my curiosity. Here are a couple more that are rather strange:

Ty Ty CityHall Photo by By Michael Rivera

I have driven through Ty Ty, Tift County, Georgia, and always wondered about its name.

According to Wikipedia:

The population was 716 at the 2000 census. 

Ty Ty is named from the trees that once lined Ty Ty Creek, which runs through the area. These Ironwood and Buckwheat trees are referred to as white and black titi trees. 

Nowthen, Minnesota


Another unusual city name is Nowthen in Anoka County, Minnesota. 

From the Nowthen website:

Nowthen, the first post office of Burns Township started June 5, 1876.  Jim Hare (first postmaster) was credited in naming the Nowthen Post Office.  History says that Hare wrote to Washington requesting a Post Office in Burns Township.  The Post Office Department indicated that they could not approve the Burns Post Office because there was already Burnstown Township Post Office in Southern Minnesota.  The department asked Hare for suggestions for a new name.  Jim Hare sent a letter to the department with several suggested names.  At the end of his letter he stated “nowthen” and signed it.  Not knowing the Hare often started and ended his sentences with “nowthen”, the department thought it was a pretty good name and named Burns Township’s Post Office the Nowthen Post Office.

Even after the Nowthen Post Office closed in July 31, 1894 the residents still referred to the area around the Post Office as Nowthen. 

On December 12, 2007, Burns Township filed a Petition with the Office of Administrative Hearings, Municipal Boundary Adjustments (OAH-MBA) requesting the incorporation of Burns Township to the City of Nowthen.

Nowthen, that’s our story.

MentalFloss website as well as Wikipedia has unusual United States city names. There are many, many more of them!

I Welcome Your Comments!

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