Waiting For Winter to Uncover an Erie Relic

Tank base-x

I had seen and photographed the concrete base of what had been a water tank in the Erie Railroad yard in Kent, but that was several years ago.

I had on my “to do” list finding the water tank base and photographing it again. The base sits a little ways off the Portage Hike and Bike trail, which skirts what had been the edge of the Kent yard in the area where the roundhouse had been many decades ago.

The water tank base can’t be seen during much of the year because it is obscured by foliage. Even with all of the leaves off the trees in winter I missed it the first time I went looking for it.

I had forgotten that is is farther off the trail than I remembered. I only caught a glimpse of it and made a mental note to find it again when I had more time.

That moment came this past winter. There was a trail leading back to the water tank base,

Judging by the graffiti on it, this must be a popular place. Maybe at night the ghosts who live in the woods surrounding the tank come out.

As I stood looking at the concrete base I recognized that it has outlived everything it was designed to serve, whether it be the railroad, steam locomotives or the men who used this facility in their work.

In time, the forces of nature will weaken the massive concrete structure and I can envision a future generation of public officials making the decision to haze it razed because it has become a safety hazard.

But that decision is well off in the future. This structure was built to last and survive it has.

For now, the water tank base is among a handful of reminders of what was once an important location for the Erie Railroad.

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders

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3 Responses to “Waiting For Winter to Uncover an Erie Relic”

  1. Paul Woodring Says:

    A nearly identical Erie water tower base exists in the Kenmore section of Akron at CSX CP Lambert. If you know where to look, it can be seen from the Westbound side of I-76/US 224 off to the right as you cross the railroad at the Akron/Barberton line. This and the old B&O coaling tower at the CSX Akron yard are the last two abandoned artifacts of the steam era still standing in Akron.

  2. lawrence Says:

    A nearly identical Erie water tower base also exists in Solon at the solon road crossing.

  3. Christopher C Esker Says:

    As a Kenmore kid, I had always, always wondered what that was, guessing it, eventually, as a water tower base (as a kid, I had entirely different ideas that were much more creative). Thanks!

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