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Old Red Bay water tank moves to main street

The old wooden water tank and tower, nearly 120 years old, was moved to its new home in Red Bay Thursday.

The original location was next to the railroad, where it was used to fill the old steam locomotives with water.

“Years ago, I preferred the water tank to stay in its original spot,” said Red Bay Museum curator Scotty Kennedy, “but I’ve changed my way of thinking, and I’m pleased with where it is now.”

Its new home is two or three city blocks from where it started – on a lot on Main Street, or Fourth Avenue, next to the Red Bay Hotel and across from the Red Bay Museum.

To make the move, electrical, phone and cable lines, as well as two traffic signal lights, had to be moved or taken down for a short period of time. It was moved by Hollis-Kennedy House Movers.

The lot will eventually also include an old Illinois Central Railroad caboose. The caboose, which has been donated to the Red Bay Museum, will be moved at a later date.

“We’re in the process of organizing the move of the caboose,” said Red Bay Mayor Charlene Fancher. “There will be a depot in between the water tank and the caboose, and it will be beautifully landscaped.”

Kennedy noted the new location is the former spot of the Red Bay Threatre. “The water tank, together with the caboose and depot, will make a great addition to downtown Red Bay and help bring people in to visit.”

Fancher said the idea for the depot arose from the need to find a way to add handicap accessibility to the caboose.

“The doors on the caboose are too small for a person in a wheelchair to enter,” Fancher explained. “We decided to add a depot, and it will be at the same level with the doors of the caboose, so someone in a wheelchair can wheel up and look inside the doors of the caboose. The depot will have side ramps and be fully accessible.”

Kennedy said this new focal point for Red Bay has been and continues to be a group effort, made possible by individuals, businesses, the Civitan club and the Red Bay Museum.

“We want to thank the people who helped with electrical, cable and phone and everyone who helped make this possible,” said Kennedy.

“The railroad is part of our heritage, and we’re very passionate about preserving the history of Red Bay,” Fancher added. “It will be a beautiful sight when the railroad park is completed. Our hometown folks are very proud of this, and it will no doubt also bring tourism to Red Bay.”