Wednesday, January 06, 2010

"The Great Pumpkin", Explained

As a follow up to my last post concerning the "Great Pumpkin" water tank mystery, multiple sources have confirmed that the tank long ago sported an orange hue, hence the gourdlike nickname.

The following is explanation provided by C. P. Zilliacus, who, back in the early days of this blog, also identified a mystery building in Four Corners.

At some point in the distant past (1970's?), there was a much smaller water storage tank on this site, which the WSSC dismantled to replace with the structure there today.

The WSSC proceeded to build this "new" tank, and the (unpainted) steel as delivered was an orange color, and as the tank started to assume its shape (I believe the steel was hoisted into place and the joints welded), it did indeed look like a large pumpkin, looming over Montgomery Hills, and during the fall of that year, it was labeled by parties unknown as The Great Pumpkin.

Eventually the entire tank was painted in that baby blue color, and the graffiti was covered over and forgotten by most.
Clearly, the context was lost entirely when the tank was painted its present ugly pale blue shade. If they're not planning on removing the tank anytime soon, perhaps WSSC should do something creative to transform it from an eyesore to a curiosity. It'd definitely create more recognition for Montgomery Hills than those Age of Aquarius banners up and down Georgia. How about painting it to look like a colossal Olmec head or perhaps the head of a gigantic subterranean robot awaiting an interstellar signal from its alien masters to initiate the destruction of human civilization? Imagine an unsuspecting first-time area visitor glancing over at that from the Beltway.

(If anyone can provide a old photo of the water tank in orange, unlimited kudos shalt be bestowed upon you.)



10 comments:

Bowie Mike said...

There is a large gas tank in the Dorchester section of Boston, and some people claim they can see an image of Ho Chi Minh. It was repainted in 1992, and there are claims that some of the likeness was intentionally removed. Check it out for yourself here. It's the image just to the right of the center.

Terry in Silver Spring said...

I like the idea of making it look like a robot head. They could make the wires and antennae look like a part of the design.

C. P. Zilliacus said...

Terry, the antennae are a (relatively) recent innovation on WSSC's water tanks.

Gunnar (or should I call you Sligo?), I would personally love to see the WSSC paint the tank back to its "original" orange color. It would be whimsical and would add some distinction to what is otherwise an ugly, run-of-the-mill WSSC standpipe structure (but give the WSSC credit, some of its newer above-ground structures look a lot better, such as the one in Cloverly near Md. 650 (New Hampshire Avenue) and Md. 198 (Spencerville Road) and even the one in Fairland off of Tech Road.

Thomas Hardman said...

I think the Giant Robot Head idea is the clear winner.

Alternatively, they could paint it in a cartoon mural style, as with the Metro station penguins, except instead of penguins, maybe make it Moon Bats.

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