Conway residents took to social media to reminisce about the water tower that stood for more than 50 years before being demolished earlier this month.
“As a boy, I remember being fascinated as they built that water tower,” resident Corky Baker posted. “Looked like it would last forever. Hard to think it is going away.”
The tower was built in 1966 when the city of Conway had fewer than 15,000 residents. In addition to providing a larger reserve of clean drinking water it served as a landmark for thousands of visitors to the fairgrounds, which were at the south end of Conway Boulevard at Robins Street at the time.
“We used to sit on the back of the tailgate at the county fair with our boyfriends under this! End of an era,” Penny Baker wrote.
For some, the tower helped with maneuvering around the growing city.
“Many times I got my location by where the letters were on the water tower,” Valerie Houser Brewer posted.
Lewis Noggle echoed the sentiment: “That old tower was always my beacon home. No matter where I went in the country when I saw that old tower, I knew I was home.”
The tower has been obsolete since the mid-1990s, when the eight million gallon tank that sits on top of the ridge at Centenial Valley was completed. That tank — along with tanks at East Cadron, the VFW, Round Mountain and Industrial Park —provide the community with its water now.
Removing the water tower will allow the city to add what officials described as “much-needed” parking for Conway Station Park.
In September, the city inked a deal with Smith Communications in which the company covered the cost of disposing of the tank — estimated at $200,000 — in order to obtain the ground lease to erect a customized cell tower with Conway Station Park in block letters from top to bottom.
As evidenced in their nostalgic but mostly positive comments, residents seem to view the deal as progress. However, some people disagreed.
Janell Daves Starkey, a mother of six who spent a lot of time at the ballpark where the tower had been, summed it up by posting: “My small children used to play around it while the older ones either practiced or played baseball or my husband coached. I know with growth comes change but some things should be left alone.”