Back in the mid- 90’s, autumn of 1996, Sussex was having phenomenal growth with a few new subdivisions and the brand new Sussex Industrial Park going in. The Village contracted a company to erect a new water tower to handle the water demand. It was built on the west side of town, right next to county Highway J, now known as state Highway 164.
Most people don’t think twice when they turn on the faucet to brush their teeth or wash some dishes. There is actually an extensive network of pipes throughout the community to distribute water to all citizens that need it.The water tower’s job is to regulate, store and maintain water pressure so that everyone can use the water they need in their daily lives.
Driving by the site almost daily, we watched with fascination as the steel plates were welded together and the tower rose higher and higher until one day it was completed... they then painted it with several coats of white paint to seal the deal. The tower sat until the end of next week, Friday.
A hanging scaffolding appeared and two sign painters began lettering what I assumed
would be the word “SUSSEX”.
The type style is/was Eurostile Extended , the village decided to go with the stock lettering
package and not the village logo, that you see very often on municipal water towers. The
strange thing was that the painters started with the last letter X proceeded backwards. Next came the E then the S. At this point it was well past6 p.m. and being the beginning of the weekend and the sun going down... these guys called it a day.
The word SEX was on the tower the entire weekend. Needless to say, the water tower became an overnight sensation with a mention on the Paul Harvey radio show and even a blurb in the
December issue of Playboy magazine;
“‘Towering Libido’ - Sussex, Wisconsin--the phones rang off the hook at the village hall after workers painting the Sussex water tower completed only three letters before calling it a day. Parents expressed concern about explaining the giant S-E-X to their children.”
Playboy Magazine 12/96
All weekend folks using highway J were covering children's eyes and thinking happy thoughts. When Sussex built another tower on the east side of town a couple of years later, they used the village logo instead.
It is said that water towers need to be repainted about every 15 years, the Sussex tower
is 18 years old this fall so drive by and get a look at some great S-E-X , north and southbound, before you miss your chance.
By Candi Johnson Arnold June 01, 2017 (originally posted 9-12-2015)
Update: Now it is June 1, 2017 and the tower is in fact being repainted. The paint crew has done the exact same thing 20 years later.
Be Part of the History!
This beautiful commemorative T-shirt is now available on Teespring!