1956 City of Summerville Water Tank

water tank
It may not look like much to you, but this water tank, shown in a 1956 photograph taken for a promotional brochure for the City of Summerville, was a favorite swimming hole on hot summer days for a group of boys whose names shall remain stricken from the record. (Your writer is unsure of the statute of limitations regarding trespassing on government property.)

Three years later, the parents of the ring leader built a house nearby atop Harlow Heights, located behind the old Georgia Rug Mill on Highway 48 in Summerville. A few years after that, the ring leader and his little gang of hoodlums discovered the metal hatch which led into the clear, freshly sanitized waters was without a lock. As fast as you can holler "Skinny dip!" the kids were in the drink.

What was even more fun (so I am told) was climbing to the top of the much larger metal tank built nearby, especially if the water level indicator along the side showed the tank as half full. That meant some high dives from the top. (Fortunately for foolish boys, an interior ladder was welded to the tank.) One also learned fairly quickly not to do the cannonball when one was skinny-dipping.

Despite the Nervous Nellie badgering by the ring leader to conduct personal business before entering the fresh water alternative to the chlorine-soaked recreation center swimming pool, the boys had a great time until one day a snitch ratted them out, and soon the City of Summerville installed padlocks on all the water tanks. Perhaps headlines about LSD also convinced the water department that leaving the tanks unlocked might make Summerville residents an easy target for acid trips, just like the ones shown at the Tooga Theater in the Peter Fonda movie, The Trip.  The boys wondered if there was a merit badge for preventing city-wide freak-outs, but like CIA operations, their actions would have to remain top secret.

Photograph courtesy of Chattooga Chamber of Commerce.

Copyright 2013 Greg W. McCollum.  All rights reserved.