History of Standpipe
Belton, SC

 

The Historical Site of Belton

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Click Photos for Larger View
Photos by Debbie Rogers

A Tradition is Born in Belton so History will Remain Alive
Standpipe Accepted as Historical Site
Standpipe Star Shines Again
New Lights Focus Nighttime View on Standpipe

 

THE HISTORICAL SITE OF BELTON

In August of 1987, the State Department of Archives and History accepted the eighty-year-old standpipe, which is used for water storage, as a historical site.  The castle-like tower that rises above the town of Belton has become a familiar landmark.  For many years, the standpipe was an international landmark for pilots flying the southeast to help pinpoint their location.  Its image has long been used as Belton’s logo in the town’s seal and on government and municipal letterheads.

In 1908, Belton Council approved spending the amount of $12,500 to build the standpipe.  Construction on the 155 foot structure on O’Neal Street (one of the highest reinforced concrete structures in the United States) was began in late 1908 and completed in early 1909.  The structure was one hundred feet high by January 3rd, 1909, with the additional fifty-five feet added later that year.  The unusual shape of the standpipe is said to have been an idea of the builders to secure a more even distribution.  The little windows in the structure, from bottom to top, were placed there for ventilation and so construction workers could get sunlight to see what they were doing.  The standpipe’s base is thirty feet in diameter and it penetrates thirty feet into the ground, where it widens out into a funnel shape.  From the ground level, it tapers inward one hundred feet to the point where the water tank begins.  From that point, the tower ranges outward again to thirty feet in diameter and upward fifty-five feet to the top.  It has the capacity to hold up to 150,000 gallons of water and is currently full.

In October of 1987, the first annual Standpipe Festival was held to help raise money for the improvement of the outside appearance of the historic structure as well as other renovations for safety and water storage reasons.  These renovations began in late 1989 and were completed to satisfaction in June of 1991.  Although the original reasons for the Standpipe Festival are no longer needed, the festival still remains an annual event that all of Belton looks forward to.

 

A Tradition Is Born In Belton So History Will Remain Alive

Anderson Independent Mail, Anderson SC, Thursday, October 1,1987

From Staff Reports

The castle-like tower that rises above the town of Belton –the standpipe for water storage – has become a familiar landmark.  Its image has long been used as Belton’s logo in the town’s seal and on official government and municipal letterheads.

On Saturday, the first annual Belton Standpipe Festival will be held in an effort to raise $20,000 which will be utilized to improve the outside appearance of the historic structure.  Other major renovations are planned for safety reasons and to allow the city to maintain the standpipe’s use as a storage tank for water.

The standpipe can be seen for miles around, and for many years, this slogan was placed on top of the tower: "Watch Belton Grow."

Construction on the 155-foot structure on O’Neal Street – one of the highest reinforced concrete structures in the United States-begun in late 1908 and completed in 1909.  The unusual shape of the standpipe is said to have been an idea of the builders to secure a more even distribution.

Belton Mayor Skipper Maynard said the little windows in the structure from bottom to top, were placed there for ventilation and so that the construction workers could get sunlight to see what they were doing.  Belton Council, in 1908, approved spending the amount of $12,500 to build the standpipe.  The structure was 100 feet high by January 3, 1909, with the additional 55 feet added later this year.

Maynard said the standpipe currently is used for water storage; it holds 150,000 gallons of supplement water from two other water tanks built in recent years.

The standpipe base is 30 feet in diameter and it penetrates 30 feet into the ground, where it widens out into a funnel shape.  From the ground level, it tapers inward 100 feet to the point where the water tank begins, and from that point the tower ranges outward again to 30 feet in diameter and upward 55 feet.

During the period of construction, R.A. Lewis was mayor and water commissioners were W.J. Morhead, Walter B. Greer, and John A. Horton.

"As far as we know, the Belton standpipe is the only one still standing at this time in the country," Maynard said.

Rentz Engineering Co. of Columbia completed a full-scale feasibility study of the structure in March to find out if the standpipe is structurally sound and to estimate the cost of cleaning and making improvements for safety and continued use.

According to a Rentz engineer’s report, we are satisfied to report that no structure and or material deficiencies of not able magnitude were encountered.  And overall, the structure is in good condition for its age.

Anderson Independent Mail, Anderson SC, Thursday, October 1,1987

Remedial repairs were recommended as four primary areas:

1. A liner for the interior of the tank.

2. Cleaning and sealing cold joints along the exterior of the water tank.

3. Cleaning and application of waterproofing sealant

4. Replacement of exterior and interior ladders.

The study cost $27,000, which was paid through a grant awarded to Belton by the state of South Carolina.

Maynard said the city water department would be responsible for replacing the interior lining and for repairing the cold joints and the two ladders.

A giant Santa Claus was placed on top of the tank during Christmas of 1938 and 1939, and a huge star was set up for Christmas of 1940.  Then came World War II, and the star was not returned until the last decade.

"Back when they were doing the study, the company had a crane here and we were able to send a man up there to fix the star, so that it can be turned on this Christmas.," Maynard said.

On August 14, Maynard and Bobby Burriss went to Columbia to support the standpipe’s nomination for the National Historic Registry.

J. Tracy Power, with the SC Department of Archives and History, presented slide presentation on the standpipe, and Mayand answered questions from the board of review. The board voted to accept the nomination on the state level for historical places.

The nomination now moves to Washington, where it will be considered for the National Register.  Maynard said the decision should be made some time in October.

Johnny Smith is chairman of the community’s committee to plan and carry out the Standpipe Festival Saturday.

"I feel like if we have good weather Saturday, it will be a tremendous day for Belton," the mayor said.  "We are looking forward to it."

It is hoped that the first Standpipe Festival will break even and raise perhaps an additional $1,500 to donate to the standpipe.  And those involved intend for this celebration to become an annual event.

Said one resident; "Belton has needed something like this for a long time."

Standpipe Accepted As Historical Site

In August 1987, the 80-year old standpipe on O’Neal Street in Belton was accepted as a historical site by the State Department of Archives and History.

According to Belton Mayor Skipper Maynard, the nomination will be sent on to Washington for review and consideration for the National Register of Historic Places.  A decision should be made by the end of this year as to whether the federal government will approve the preservation of the standpipe as a national historic site, Maynard said.

 

Standpipe Star Shines Again

Anderson Independent-Mail, Anderson, SC, Thursday, October 1, 1987

The star atop Belton’s landmark standpipe shone again last May after 10 years of disrepair.  The star, for many years a part of Belton’s Christmas decorations, was switched on at 6 p.m. for 90 minutes.  "It had been over 10 years since it burned," said Mayor R.A. "Skipper Maynard."  In the past it was something citizens of Belton looked forward to at Christmas time."  City officials turned on the star to give Belton residents an opportunity to see the star burning and to take pictures of the decoration.  The star was returned to working order in late April when engineers conducting a feasibility study of restoring the standpipe to working order gave use of a crane to the city.  Maynard said that he and Water Department Supervisor Bobby Burriss and merchant Clifton Hunter replaced about 60 light bulbs in the star while Belton electrician Dale Owens replaced some of the fixtures and made other repairs.  Before the crane was available, the only way to repair the star was to climb a ladder outside the standpipe, Maynard said.  But no one wanted to climb the ladder.  "It was simple with the crane," he said.  Maynard said he is pleased with the repairs.  "The star means a lot to the community here, he said.  "It’s got the community excited.  Maynard said the community’s 1987 Christmas activities would center on the star, with city officials planning several events concerning the star.

 

New Lights Focus Nighttime View on Standpipe

The Belton-Honea Path News-Chronicle, Belton, SC, Wednesday, May 28, 2003

The Standpipe is now attracting more attention at night, thanks to a new lighting system.  Belton City Councilman Wendell Page and former Mayor Skipper Maynard spearheaded the drive to light the Standpipe.  Foothill's Ford's Mike Roberts bought the lights, while Tommy Wallace furnished the wiring and timer.  Wallace also hooked up the wiring.  All of the work was accomplished through donations, with no money from the city, according to Page, who made the mounting brackets and installed the lights with the assistance of fellow councilman Bob Tugwell.  The Standpipe, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was built in 1909 and stands 155 feet tall.  The city emblem was refurbished in 1988-89.

 

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Belton Alliance - PO Box 368 - Belton, SC  29627