Occupy Water Tower: The Revel’s in the Details

Water Tower Stand-Off; photo via

News overload! We’re all scanning the headlines. Hundreds of them, sometimes, in a single day. And only a few select, tantalizing, provocative links ultimately earn our coveted click-through.

What a shame. Because if you scanned right by this item, well… you missed some amazing details.

Man ends water tower occupation after six hours

You can read the whole story now if you like, but how about I make it really easy and clip just the best funny, sad and ironic details?

The broad scenario: In Napa Valley, California, Adrain Madrigal, a mentally disturbed hispanic man, “occupied” the top of an old tannery water tower for 6.5 hours before being taken into custody.

Six stunningly incredible details:

  1. Throughout the day, Madrigal could be seen climbing in and out of the water tank through a hatch. Why it’s amazing: Cartoons as reality–the old “escape hatch” move, a classic Looney Toonie setup!
  2. A helmeted, rifle-bearing SWAT agent made efforts to reach the man, but he repeatedly evaded them by moving to the other side of the water tank, using a pivoting ladder that is attached to the very top of the tower.
    Why it’s amazing: More Looney Tunes fun–a modern-day Bugs Bunny evading the shotgun-toting Elmer Fudd via swinging ladder!
  3. Threw a heavy metal can filled with rocks at officers on watch below. Why it’s amazing: Premeditation! He must have actually prepared by carrying rock-filled cans to the top of the tower.
  4. Authorities initially tried to persuade Madrigal to come down, offering him cigarettes and tacos. Why it’s amazing: Don’t know exactly why. It just is.
  5. Six hours into the standoff, with the sun going down, he began shouting for “agua.” Why it’s amazing: He’s on a water tower! The irony! Not to mention the fact that he took canned stones to the top, but forgot to bring along water, tacos and cigs.
  6. Madrigal came down from the tower around 5:50 p.m. after repeatedly asking authorities at the scene for water. Why it’s amazing: Could this be the start of the oft-predicted water-centered conflict and conquest? Yes, it is obvious that political authorities with access to water are using it to oppress those without! Right now, right in California!
  7. Madrigal may be the same person a manager found on the property Tuesday, who said he was looking for a job. He was told to return early the next day. Why it’s amazing: Occupy Water Tower. Wake up people, it’s not about tacos and cigs. It’s about jobs and water. And that’s a fact. 
wedding at louisville kentucky water tower

Nothing Says Wedding Like Water Tower

wedding at louisville kentucky water tower Attention brides: We know it is challenging, this never-ending   quest for unique, memorable settings in which to tie the knot. (Me? I copped out with the utterly predictable church affair.) If I were getting hitched now, I think I’d one-up my peers with a creative Water Tower event, Read more

The Iconic New York City… Water Tower?

In that most sophisticated of cities, New York, New York, the wooden water tower still reigns supreme. has a fascinating story on the many wooden water towers that dot the skyline. You might  mistake these for relics of days gone by, but even the newer towers look old, as the material of choice is still wood.

In the city, buildings taller than six stories need some sort of independent water tower and pump system to deliver adequate water pressure.

On East 57th Street, New York City, three architectural approaches for rooftop water towers. (From Wikipedia Commons)

An excerpt from (Read the full story here.)

Water towers: NYC’s misunderstood icons

New York City’s skyline is dotted with wooden water towers that are easy to mistake for vanishing relics of the bygone eras of seltzer bottles and street gas lamps.

But what many New Yorkers don’t realize is the towers are hardly antiques — in fact, most drink and bathe from the water stored in them every day.

“When I tell people what I do for a living, they can’t believe it is still done,” said Kenny Lewis, foreman of the Rosenwach Tank Co.’s wood shop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the only one like it in the city. “After people notice the tanks, they can’t believe how many there are.”

Water bright time, it’s the right time

Christmas lights and water towers seem such a natural combo it’s surprising we don’t see more of them. Perhaps they interfere with the increasingly prevalent cell antennas. Anyhow, here’s a few for your holiday enjoyment.

An annual tradition: Camarillo, California water tower from

Branson, Missouri, from Flickr by Antonia Quest.

Larned, Kansas on Flickr by photo.klick.

Mandeville, Louisiana by David Schexnaydre on Flickr.

Flickr-er jhwk_errant photographed this one in Lyons, Kansas.

The ultimate in water container recycling

Low rates of recycling for water bottles? Time to think bigger. The Sugar City, Idaho water tower, out of service for nearly 60 years, is getting a $25,000 spiff-up for its second life as a parking place for cell antennas. According to,

A major project is about to get underway in Sugar City to restore an old water tower that’s not even being used anymore.

People can see the water tower from almost anywhere in the city and some are saying the peeling paint and rust are making it an eyesore.

Even though it hasn’t been in use since the 1950’s, the city plans to spend a lot money to fix it up.

“It’s gonna be about 25 thousand dollars and the painting is guaranteed for about 30 years,” said Lamont Merrill of the Sugar City Council.

The old water tower, built in 1915, will be completely cleaned off and repainted.

A few months ago, Sugar City’s beautification committee asked the mayor and city council to approve the restoration project.

The issue was debated because the water tower is no longer being used. Some in the city think it’s a waste of money. But, the city council gave the okay because cell phone companies are renting space on tower.

“We’re going to receive about 700 dollars a month from the cell companies to go towards painting and maintenance and restoration of the toward,” said Merrill.

That means in two and a half years, the 25,000 dollars will be paid off and the city will start to make a profit.

Water tower superlatives

No matter what the profession or endeavor, somewhere, someone is honoring “the best.” Even if they’re just doing it to create a promotional opportunity. Such is the case of the “2007 Tank of the Year,” an award bestowed by Tnemec Company, “a leading manufacturer of protective coatings for water tanks for more than 30 years.”

The winning Anderson, SC water tank (actually, a pair)  is designed to look like a hot air balloon complete with gondola and passengers. Lest anyone think this was not a notable achievement requiring grit and determination, here’s a photo of the painting in progress:

Of course, for every victorious winner there is a runner up. For the 2007 tank design derby, that was the Wahoo, Nebraska Water Tower, featuring a fluid, flowing American flag. Here are the Wahoo painters, laboring with the relative luxury of a crane assist:

Anderson photo #1 by xxxmean jennyxxx; Anderson painting photo by sisudave. Wahoo water tower photo by impala.1079. All from Flickr.

A water tower you can climb

Although Tank, Spaz and Tiddy might not be welcomed, this water tower in the Giant City State Park, near Carbondale, Illinois averts temptation with a design meant to climb. Constructed in 1970, it’s 82 ft. high, holds 100,000 gallons and includes a 50 ft. observation deck for panoramic views of the park and beyond. I like the semi-sci-fi, sculptural look of it–maybe better suited for downtown Chicago than downstate. You can put this one in my backyard.

The lovely photo is from by bambam203.

Tank, Spaz, Tiddy & Melissa


I’m sure a little summer fun is all they had in mind. Or maybe summer fun in their little minds. Four Manatee county, Florida teenagers went straight to jail for burglary and criminal mischief when they were nailed vandalizing this water tower. Melissa Jenkins, her brother “Spaz” Jenkins and his two friends, Frankie “Tank” Koonz and Jordan “Tiddy” Tidwell scaled the water tower to spray paint their names. Now, that’s smart! Sheriff’s deputies eventually arrived on the scene and arrested all four.

At 10:30 pm on a Friday night, they climbed a ladder and got to work, . Someone on the ground spotted the antics and called police. Photos from ABC7

Bleak to Chic

This July in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the Pfister and Vogel water tower, from an old tannery building near the city’s park east corridor, was moved and placed it in its new location as a symbolic landmark of the ritzy new North End development–all 42,000 lbs. of it. The $175 million development will include new condos, apartments, stores, and river walks on a formerly blighted urban property.

Photo #1, from davereid2 on Flickr. Photos 2 and 3 from by Dawes Rigging and Crane.

Someone’s getting fired for this.

A real good ol’ boy would impress his buddies by shooting beer cans off fence posts. Who couldn’t hit this target? From, some idiot started the New Year with a bang.

Town’s Water Supply Drains From Bullet Holes; Water Tower Shot With High-Powered Rifle

MAIDEN, N.C. — January 1, 2008 — In the midst of an extreme drought, a North Carolina town has lost hundreds of thousands of gallons of water that leaked from bullet holes discovered in the town’s water tower.

Catawba County Sheriff’s Deputy Major Coy Reid said that the tower appears to have been shot three times with a high-powered rifle. Investigators think the shooting happened sometime Monday morning.

Residents told investigators that they had heard the gunshots, but because no one called deputies, the damage was not discovered until hours later.

City officials said that the tower can’t be fixed until most of the water is drained because the repairs will have to be done from inside the holding tank.

Fixing the damage is expected to cost between $15,000 and $20,000 — but that doesn’t include the value of the water lost during the Southeast’s worst drought in more than a century.

Thanks, Flickr-er dwhokins1970 for this shot before the shooting of the Maiden water tower.