Being a hopeless urbanite, I’m fascinated by small town water towers. They serve as landmarks much like a city’s tallest skyscraper might, but also as “welcome” signs, welcoming travelers to many small towns across the country. Thus, our region’s own Florence Y’all water tower just had to be immortalized in a three-color limited-edition serigraph, which debuted at the OTR/Gateway Summer Celebration and is now available in our online shop.
The Florence, Kentucky water tower is an instantly recognizable landmark, even inspiring the naming of the annual Florence festival to the “Florence Y’all” fest. The Florence Y’all Fest takes up four days and covers Main Street with vendor booths. According to Wikipedia, in 1974, the name “Florence Mall” was painted on the water tower to promote the new shopping center. The sign was found to be in violation and, in a stroke of penny-pinching genius, only one letter needed to be changed in order to comply with regulations, and a regional icon was born!
The Florence Y’all water tower is the most notable one I’ve seen thus far, but I took some photos of other water towers on the way to and from Columbus last weekend, to start tracking water tower typology:
Be sure to check out our online shop for lots of locally inspired goodies made with love right here in Over-the-Rhine! In Cincinnati, you can also find our work at the Contemporary Arts Center gift shop, MiCA 12/v, Outside, Park+Vine, MiCA, and NVISION. Outside of Cincinnati, you can find our seed bombs at Jayson Home & Garden in Chicago and at Rose Bredl in Columbus.
Wow, as someone who is intimately familiar with small-town USA, I just have to let you know that this is hilarious! I think a series of these would be a complete hoot!
Thanks! I initially envisioned a series, actually, and I’d appreciate input on any interesting water towers that are worth of their own prints. For the moment, I think we’re happy to gauge the response to this first one, and then we may work on companion pieces in the future.
Mt. Airy Water Tower is a must. Certainly not a small town water tower, but a landmark in its own right.
Went looking for a pic of the Cosmos MN watertower & found it here with a gazillion other water tower shots.
I really like the small town water towers. Do buildings in New York and other large cities still use those things at all ? I always liked them in old cityscapes and they were always a headache for SpiderMan because some arch villain was always toppling them over onto the innocent bystanders.
Here is a photo of the Mt. Airy water tower. Wow! And, Quimbob, you’ve found the mother lode of water tower images, haven’t you?
I’m personally partial to the Brooklyn, Indiana water tower myself. Anyway, this idea of a series might be as viable as the Cincinnati food portraits — really funny to me, with possible appeal to a really small group of people. It sounds perfect!
Love it, well done.
My husband’s grandfather, “Hop” Ewing, was the mayor of Florence who put the “Ya’ll”on the tower. Nice to see it immortalized in yet another way. Have you seen the water tower bobblehead?
Oh, wow, that practically makes you a celebrity, as far as I’m concerned! I just found the water tower bobblehead on eBay. It’s only $35! How bizarre…