Locals React to Future Destruction of Historic Chipley Water Tower

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Chipley- For 40 years, Francis Hays has watched Chipley change from the window of his barber shop on Highway 90.

"There's been a lot of things on that corner in times past" he said. "All the ice that was made was made in that one building. And it caught a fire one day. It's a wonder the mess hadn't have collapsed then and come down in the middle of town!"

'That mess' was precisely how city officials felt about the historic water tower just across the street from Hays' shop.

Many hate to see it go, but say it's become a hazard. And, bringing it up to code could cost as much as $200,000. But, for people like Jerry Haviland, memory's don't come with price tags.

"Just to say, 'would you like to see it come down?' No. I like to see it when I drive by" Haviland told us.

Hays added, "that's sort of the way people knew to turn left to go to panama city."

Much like Hays, the tower had been a fixture in Haviland's life for 40 years as well.

"Anything that's 'old time' to and 'old timer'- you hate to see go. It's a landmark" Haviland said looking out the window toward the tower.

But Hays did not agree.

"Well I'd like to see them just take it down. That's about all they can do with it. I imagine when they start it will just fall down!"

Several months ago, the city installed a tornado siren on top of the tower, making it much less endearing to Hays.

"You talk about a noise, when that thing goes off it makes a noise! Everybody in town will leave when that goes off" he laughed.

40 years, one tower- two very different opinions- but a shared understanding.

"Things do have to go. Age has to go. And I'm approaching it" Haviland said. "So I know it's not forever. It will just be a whole when I look up."

Officials have not said when the tower would be taken down.