When it comes to landmarks in the Texas Panhandle, we have a tendency to drive by them all the time, yet we never know the history.

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A few weeks ago, I was coming back from Oklahoma and drove by the famous Britten water tower in Groom.   It piqued my interest.

So many questions?

Why is there a giant leaning water tower near the road?  Did it break?  Did a tornado hit it, why is it by its lonesome in a field?

The leaning water tower didn't use to be all by itself in a field on the side of the road.  It was purposely put there for a local truck stop.

Back in the day, Ralph Britten purchase the water tower from Lefors (yes, the town).  He wanted to install it at his truck stop.   They towed the tower into Groom, painted Britten USA on it, and then took a bulldozer to set it at the weird angle it sits.

It sits at an 80-degree angle from the ground.

Talk about marketing!

According to Atlas Obscura:

Britten’s manipulation of the tower did, however, require sufficient knowledge of physics. If the water tower were completely empty or completely full, its center of mass would be directly in the middle of the can, making it topple when slanted. So Britten filled it only partially, so that the low level of water would place the can’s center of mass near its base, directly above the two supporting legs, keeping it aloft.

Unfortunately, the truck stop burnt down and was never rebuilt, but the tower remains.  It has become a roadside attraction on Route 66.   People travel that road and stop by the tower and take pictures.

If you didn't know you were in Groom, you would probably think the town was called Britten because of the wonky water tower.

So the next time you're traveling through Groom make sure you stop by and check out the Leaning Tower of Britten.

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