Historic tower on the movePublished 8:35pm Tuesday, June 18, 2013
The historic tower that once warned local sailors of inclement weather was removed Monday, bound for reparation and, eventually, a new home.
According to Washington resident and amateur historian Ray Midgett, a work crew severed the tower’s metal legs from a concrete base and with a strap, lowered the 50-foot tower to the ground.
“They just picked it up and laid it over,” Midgett said.
Washington’s city council voted unanimously in April to accept the storm-warning tower from the owner of 720 E. Main St., home of the tower since the 1940s. A plan to reinstall it in another prominent location, likely the downtown Washington waterfront, is in the works, the location yet to be decided. But the move came a little ealier than expected, as the East Main Street property is expected to change hands this week, according to Midgett.
Before local weather conditions began to be broadcast over the airwaves, the U.S. Weather Bureau used the towers and various forecast flags to warn mariners of wind shifts and approaching storms. Washington’s tower was in service from 1900 until 1989 and was moved only once, from one property on East Main Street to its last address.
According to city estimates, the tower’s relocation and repair will cost $14,200.
“Right now, it’s going to a shop over in Ayden to be sandblasted and painted and restored,” Midgett said.
Similar towers in Manteo and Southport have been restored and displayed as a tribute to marine history.