Today's Picture of the Day is likely the most famous landmark in the City of Florence. Thousands of people who travel I-75 each day get a look at the famous Florence Y'all water tower. Folks from Michigan to Florida and all points in between know that when they pass through Florence they will see this original and unusual landmark.
Here is how Wikipedia explains the origins of the tower and its unique design:
The tower holds approximately one million gallons of water, and was constructed in the early 1970s by the Pittsburgh-Des Moines Co. of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The plain water tower gathered little, if any attention. In 1974, the Virginia Erection Co. was contracted to paint the words "Florence Mall" to advertise the forthcoming Mall style shopping center - something new to the region. Mayor CM "Hop" Ewing was informed in July of 1974 by the Bureau of Highways that the signage was in violation of the law, as there was a restriction on how tall a sign promoting a business could be.
Many solutions were suggested, including everything from the obvious repainting of the tower, to covering the structure with a large tarpaulin. No inexpensive options seemed available.
During a brainstorming session with other civil staff, Ewing devised the idea of removing the vertical lines at the sides of the M in MALL to make it a Y; becoming Y'ALL. Ewing himself admitted at the time that it was a "corny" solution, but cost effective. The city paid $472 to the W.T. Marx Company of Cincinnati, Ohio to make the changes; whereas a complete repaint would have been nearly three times as much. With the completion of the modified paint job, the landmark was born.Those of us who have been around Florence for a while remember when this all took place as the Florence Mall was being built. The Florence Mall changed everything in Florence and though none of us really knew it at the time, it led to the creation of one of the most famous landmarks along I-75.
The Florence Y'all theme has become a part of the fabric of the community. The term even inspired the Florence Y'all festivals that used to take place on Main Street and more recently at Champion Window Field. The water tower is a great curiosity to those who pass it each day, and a beloved landmark to the citizens of the community.