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The Witch Will Be Back

Friday, May 27, 2016

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A water tower in New England is getting a makeover, but it won’t be losing its most notable feature: the Salem Witch.

Salem is perhaps best known for its trials and executions of supposed “witches” in the late 17th century. The executions took place on Gallows Hill, which is the modern-day site of a municipal water tower that has for decades borne a town logo with the silhouette of an archetypal witch on a broom.

Salem water tower
© Andrew Pascarella / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 via Flickr

Gallows Hill is the site of a municipal water tower that has for decades borne a town logo with the silhouette of a witch on a broom.

But it’s time for a new coat of paint for the tower, The Salem News reports, and that means the witch is going away for a bit—but not permanently.

After finding evidence of paint chipping away during a recent inspection, the paper reports, city engineers decided to order a $1.5 million cleaning and repainting, being carried out by Utility Services Company of Georgia.

Both the inside and outside of the 50-year-old tank are being cleaned and recoated. City engineer Dave Knowlton told the News that USC is using a pair of "robots" on cables to do the job: one to blast, and the second to paint.

The painting was underway as of earlier this week, and the witch had disappeared. Officials expect the job to be done by the end of June, according to The Salem News.

The witch tower is one of a number of notable water towers in New England, some historic and others artistic. Though the witch trials are perhaps a strange claim to fame, witch tourism is a boon to Salem, and it seems the citizens there like their water tower witch—so there’s no plan to get rid of her now.

"There's a lot of traditionalists," Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll told the News. "So I think we'll be repainting exactly what's there."


Tagged categories: Coating Application; Maintenance coating work; North America; Primers; Tank exteriors; Tank interiors; Tanks; Tanks and vessels; Water Tanks

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