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In Groom, A Curious Tower Leans Over the Prairie

Peter Thody

Most travelers passing through Groom, Texas, are distracted by the almost-200-foot-high cross that towers over the little town. But the lucky few who happen to glance north of the interstate are met with a surprise. In Groom you’ll find what Slate’s Atlas Obscura blog calls “The Leaning Tower of Texas.”

This small town just east of Amarillo on old Route 66 contains a water tower that looks to be the victim of an earthquake. The structure leans at a crazy angle, two of its legs dangling off the ground.

In reality, the tower is the work of Ralph Britten. Decades ago Britten set the tower to lean as a way of drawing customers to his Route 66 truck stop. Unfortunately, a devastating fire struck Britten’s truck stop. Now, nothing remains but this water tower, leaning confidently into the West Texas sunrise.