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You know you’re in Elizabeth City when…

Posted on 05/22/2018 by Simone Cooper

It has long, powerful steel legs and a massive girth and is a formidable presence in the downtown district.  No, it’s not a hulking robotic creature from science fiction but the Pool Street Water Tower (264-298 N. Pool St. at Colonial Ave. NE). With its welcoming ‘Harbor of Hospitality’ logo, you know you’re in Elizabeth City when you spot the tower while driving over the Causeway Bridge from Camden County or when entering downtown from Elizabeth Street.

In a 1990 interview with the New York Times, the novelist Donna Tartt said water towers “occupy such a striking place in the southern imagination because the landscape is so flat” and her sentiment certainly applies to the Pool Street tower. Built in 1925, it stands 135 feet tall, measures 150 feet in diameter, and holds 500,000 gallons of drinking water. And according to Southern Corrosion, Inc., a company that maintains water towers throughout the Mid-Atlantic region and the south, 230 gallons of paint were required to coat the exterior of the elevated water tower and to create its six-color palette and logo as well as 160 gallons of NSF-approved epoxy for the interior. The six-week paint project was completed in June 2012. Although Arnie, the character portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio in the 1993 film, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, loves to climb the water tower in the small Iowa town where he lives, no such mischievous pranks occur at the Pool Street tower as it has a locked fence surrounding it. However, with its expansive graphics and impressive white spiral staircase, it is best appreciated from afar. A special thanks to Amanda Boone of Public Utilities-Waterworks for the City of Elizabeth City and to Ed Soltis of Southern Corrosion, Inc.

We would love to see your photos of our water tower, share them with #DiscoverECity.  For more iconic sites in Elizabeth City, take a look at our Tours section.

Simone Cooper A publicist and branding specialist who is also a mid-century modern fanatic. When she’s not assisting clients with messaging, you can find her hunting for furniture and housewares from the 1960s.

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