Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Located on the property of the John B. Parsons home is this unique structure. Many folks here have seen it but are unaware of what it is or how it came to be. This is the first water tower the city of Salisbury had, more often referred to as "The Standpipe".
Near the the base of this hill in the late 1800's was the Jackson Lumber Mill #1. A fire of great magnitude destroyed the mill in 1899 and history tells us the city was again in danger of burning down had the fire spread. This stand pipe was built by the Grier brothers and the location was chosen because it was the highest point in the city and gravity was the primary tool to supply the system. The standpipe was built of Swedish steel and was was quite costly, however the quality of the steel insured it's longevity.
The completed standpipe had a capacity 150,000 gals of water, just a drop in the bucket to what is used today but in the early 1900's it was sufficient.
Located near the base of this structure was a building that contained a pumping station known as "The Salisbury Water Works". That structure is now gone as I understand it. The area around the base of the tower was known as "Fireman's Park", and as I stated in the beginning it is located on the property of the John B. Parsons home. It has been overgrown with ivy and though it appears to be severely rusted the structure is quite sound. I seem to remember a few years back this structure was an issue because of it's appearance and in the end it was cleaned up and painted. I would like to see this tower preserved as it is an integral part of Salisbury's history, both the city's and the Grier family that has been so influential over the years. Possibly a preservation effort can be made to once again restore it to a pleasant icon for the city.
A special Thanks goes to SFD Asst. Chief Brian Records for this information and as well as Mr. Pete Cooper who contributed as well.