The water tower seems to be melting in the Texas heat!
No, no, don’t get me wrong.
It’s a leaning water tower that is serving as a decorative item. It originally was a functioning water tower which was slated for demolition until Ralph Britten bought it and moved it to serve as a sign for his truck stop and tourist information center. This truck stop can still be seen, set back off the road behind the tower, now boarded up and in disrepair.
There was a truck stop and restaurant behind the tower (as such as Love’s) which is now gone. The leaning water tower still remains a popular target and the town of Groom turns on a large colored star mounted on the top around Christmas time (as you can see the photo here). The water tower is a common image from Route 66 photography books.
The tower was meant to serve as the business’ water supply. Around 1980, Ralph Britten bought it from the town of Lefors and transported it – yes, in one piece – all the way to Groom, however, he decided to put the tower as an attention-getter. Well it worked like a charm. Britten and his crew used a bullrozer to lift the massive tank into place, buried one side partway in the ground and set the whole thing at an 80-degree angle. The tower stands today as it did then: no anchors, no concrete, no wires. It is just balanced there, two of its legs dangling mid-air.
I felt one and sure enough it was soft and raw. I forgot all about the texture feel. The last time I saw the real raw cotton was when I was in the sixth grade, learning about Eli Whitney when I researched him for my history class. I wrote the essay about him and his invention of cotton gin. The teacher, Beth Forester, surprised me with the raw cotton she brought for me. My class and I were fascinated with it. I had to give them the story of Eli Whitney on the floor. I loved it. It was good to see the cotton field right there in Groom. It’s just across the leaning tower. Just a tip for you, road trippers!
I’ll probably see you again when I set on my route 66 road trippin’ from Santa Monica to Chicago one day…
I-40 exit 114. Groom, Texas. There is a place to pull in and turn around off of the access road, but the gate is locked.
Next page….Elvis stopped by to see the turbine blade at the Lucille.