We may be delirious from the onset of Midwestern summer heat, but I’m out of my mind with three of my favorite things, all wrapped in one package: water towers, quirky roadside attractions, and the enterprising American entrepreneur.
Wrapped up in a big red bow for a unique photo op, this new water tower was a “gift” from Roger Williams University to the town of Bristol, Rhode Island. (Wow! That’s the first time I’ve seen the words “university” and “gift” used together when it DID NOT involve my checkbook!) From thechoice.blogs.nytimes.com:
In 2008, Roger Williams University was adding new buildings to its Bristol, R.I., campus when, in the course of construction, it ran into a problem: low water pressure.
“We could have brought in pressure booster pumps to campus,” said Roy J. Nirschel, the university’s president. “But in that case, the town of Bristol would still have been affected.”
Instead, the university donated $1 million to the town to finance a new water tower.
Neat-o, but the article also points out that there are timely reasons why these sorts of “gifts” may become more common, and involve factors beyond pure altruism:
The subject is particularly relevant in the wake of Pittsburgh’s debate over a proposed tuition tax, intended to extract from students “fair share”contributions for city services and infrastructure upkeep. The tax was dropped after colleges and universities agreed to voluntarily increase their contributions to the city.
I can’t wait to see a nice bronze plaque commemorating a new sewer pipeline! Just imagine…refined signage honoring the donors and marking…the UNLV Intake Pipe #3!?
The Southern Arkansas University Water Tower Candle, photographed by Sounds like “Jee” on Flickr. This circa-1976 water tower is the most recognizable landmark in Magnolia, Arkansas and features a peal of 14 cast bronze bells near the top. The illuminated holiday candle decoration is a tradition that was established in l988.
This photo is from the annual public tree lighting ceremony in Concord, North Carolina by Paul Purser on Flickr, shot while working on a book about Charlotte NC and surrounding communities. (www.destinationcharlottethebook.com.) The water tower reads “All American City” and is a Concord icon. This great photo captures the city Christmas tree, the water tower, and fireworks in one shot.
A striking display from the City of Round Rock, Texas by Christopher Rose (khowaga1) on Flickr
This photo by mfng (Tom) on Flickr shows a landmark water tower in Durham, North Carolina. The site is a former Lucky Strike cigarette factory in the American Tobacco Historic District, now converted into a mixed-use campus of offices, restaurants and condos.
This water tower topped with a light tree is by gorfram on Flickr who notes that every year the Shoreline (Washington) Water District puts up a tree made of lights up on top of this water tower with local merchants donating towards the cost. Her photo was taken just as dusk was deepening into night. There’s a dusting of snow on top of the water tank, the Christmas tree is ringed by various radio masts and other equipment, and the twigs of a Japanese maple are in the foreground.
By QT Long at terragalleria.com, a festive water tower in Tennessee.
Beautiful dusk light accents this starry blue tower in Fresno, California by Matt (mistergoleta) on Flickr.
By Robb_Wilson on Flickr, we love this charming Charlie Brown-ish water tower spotted in Griffith Park, Los Angeles, California, where old railroad cars and engines are put out to pasture. This time of year, Robb says, “parts of the area are dressed up for Christmas.”
From the Mount Washington, Ohio 2009 Tower Lighting Ceremony by Rich Richmond on Flickr, who when contacted about including his photo in this feature said “I had no idea anywhere else was crazy enough to light up a water tower!”
TacSat Tim on Flickr took this photo of the Mannheim Water Tower during the annual Christmas market while stationed in Germany after returning home from Iraq in in 2006 (it was his first Christmas in Mannheim with his wife.) “Der Wasserturm” was built in 1889 and is a local landmark.
Not an real water tower, but charming nonetheless! =>tim<= on Flickr took this photo of a light display depicting a water tower with rail cars at the Midwest City, Oklahoma Holiday Lights Spectacular.
Just when we think our crush on the country, culture and people of England was getting out of hand, along comes a note from Ferrers (aka The Pie Man) to further stoke our Anglophile tendencies. He pointed us to the delightful BWTAS – the British Water Tower Appreciation Society. The group “exists to connect enthusiasts of water towers to share their enjoyment of their artistic, cultural, architectural, historical, social and engineering significance.”
We’re in favor of that! But the best part of their “about us” statement is this “It is a society that tries not to burden itself with administration duties, committees and all that stuff (although it has them). It is whatever the members can make of it themselves.”
Visit their website or follow them on Twitter, but be sure to set aside some time as it is packed with tons entertaining information, not only from the UK but from all other world. (In fact, I saw plenty of US-based water-tower stuff that I’d never come across myself elsewhere!)
The Society has organized exhibitions of water tower arts and crafts, given talks, organized tours, written guidebooks on water towers, and appeared on radio and TV. Its diverse membership includes architects, artists, historians, civil engineers, utility company employees, tower owners “as well as ‘just plain folk.”
If you’re UK-based, lucky you! All the rest of us should bookmark the BWTAS site in our big-fat, “someday” UK travel folder.
Earlier this week, did you laugh at our juvenile superstitions over buzzards roosting atop the Gladewater, Texas water tower? Did you scoff at our contention that this was an unsettling, bad sign?
Well, look at this, left-brainers, we were right! The Feb. 26, 2009 news-journal.com reports the “breaking news” that LINE BREAKS LEAVE GLADEWATER WATERLESS.
The city of Gladewater was without water most of Wednesday after two breaks to a main water line in less than 24 hours.
The broken line was about 50 years old and connected the water plant to the Gay Avenue water tower, City Manager Jay Stokes said.
Due to the original break, Gladewater students didn’t begin classes until 10 a.m. Wednesday. After the second, the schools dismissed at 1:30 p.m.
“We had bottled water available for the students to drink, but there were health concerns involving the inability to use restroom facilities, so we dismissed early,” Superintendent J.P. Richardson said.
Schools will operate on a regular schedule today if the water problem has been resolved, he said.
City residences and businesses also were without water Wednesday.
“This is not a good position to be in,” Stokes said
“If we had a fire without adequate water pressure, it could be difficult to bring it under control. It’s also just uncomfortable and difficult for people to go about their daily business if they don’t have access to water in their homes and place of employment.”
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