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Winslow Street Water Tank II.

The second tower on this site — known officially as “No. 1” after the first was demolished and the third was constructed — was designed by Whitman & Howard of Boston and constructed in the space of about five months in 1931, in the midst of the Great Depression. Tank No. 1 was 115 feet tall, with a diameter of 42 feet and a capacity of 1.1 million gallons of water. From the very first, town officials worried about how they could make such a thing a bit less conspicuous. Their answer, The Advocate reported in 1932, was camouflage:

The top of it will be painted blue to melt into the sky and the lower part is to be so decorated as to resemble surrounding dunes. Then when the visitors arrive by train or boat their first glimpse of the perfect Provincetown skyline, so regally topped by the Pilgrim’s monument, will not be marred by the ungainly tank.

To judge from a photo of the painted standpipe, which appeared in the June 1936 issue of Popular Science, the result was very conspicuous, indeed. It looked like a 115-foot Stuart Davis. (Actually, The Advocate reported in 1978, George Elmer Browne may have had a hand in the camouflage scheme.)

The tank was dismantled in the summer of 2011.

¶ Last updated on 29 April 2017.

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