Big hydrant.
World's Largest Fire Hydrant. In the background, on the right, is Tunnelvision.

World's Largest Fire Hydrant

Field review by the editors.

Columbia, South Carolina

In 1975, South Carolina artist Blue Sky (formerly Warren Edward Johnson) painted "Tunnelvision," an outdoor mural in downtown Columbia. It was so popular that the city commissioned Sky to create a new artwork to celebrate the mural's 25th birthday. Sky labored in secret for months, calling his project "Y2K" and hiding it beneath an enormous tarp.

Big hydrant.

The tarp was finally lifted on February 18, 2001, to the roar of fireworks and an Elvis impersonator, and it was broadcast live on local TV (Sky overshot his Y2K deadline, perhaps deliberately; this date was also the anniversary of the destruction of Columbia during the Civil War). What was unveiled was "Busted Plug Plaza," the world's largest fire hydrant. Almost 40 feet tall, weighing 675,000 pounds, the fireplug was was built to withstand a direct hit from a tornado, and purposefully over-scaled to dwarf other claimants to the world's largest title.

The hydrant is designed to look tilted and broken, as if it had been knocked cockeyed by a giant truck. Water initially sprayed up at random angles from its base (It was meant to be a fountain), but the pumps gradually failed, the water was reduced to a trickle, and it was finally shut off in 2012.

Fulfilling the original intent of the artwork, Sky positioned it so that people could take snapshots with the fireplug in the foreground and the tunnel mural behind it.

World's Largest Fire Hydrant

Address:
1400 Taylor St., Columbia, SC
Directions:
Downtown. Either I-77 exit onto Forest Drive, which turns into Taylor St.; or I-26 to I-126, which turns into Elmwood Ave., then a quick right on Marion and five blocks south to Taylor. Center of Taylor between Bull and Marion Sts, in the AgFirst Farm Credit Bank parking lot, near Palmetto Medical Center.
Phone:
803-779-4242
Admission:
Free
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

TunnelvisionTunnelvision, Columbia, SC - < 1 mi.
Neverbust ChainNeverbust Chain, Columbia, SC - < 1 mi.
Washington Statue Left Damaged To Show Yankee EvilWashington Statue Left Damaged To Show Yankee Evil, Columbia, SC - < 1 mi.
In the region:
Monument to the Father of Gynecology, Columbia, SC - < 1 mi.

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July 24, 2017

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