Coffee Pot Water Tower.

Coffee Pot and Cup Water Towers

Field review by the editors.

Stanton, Iowa

One of the few Big Coffee Pot towns with a semi-legitimate coffee claim-to-fame, Stanton was the birthplace of actress Virginia Christine, who was briefly famous as "Mrs. Olson," a spokeswoman for Folgers coffee in TV commercials and on the sides of coffee cans. She'd left Iowa years before her rise to fame, but she returned for Stanton's centennial celebration in 1970 as its parade Grand Marshal. Stanton celebrated the connection, along with its own Scandinavian coffee roots, by transforming its 1921 water tower into the World's Largest Coffee Pot.

The Swedish-style pot, painted with decorative hearts and flowers, holds 50,000 gallons (or 800,000 cups of coffee). It sits atop a 90-foot-tall tower; a sign at its base proudly lists its dimensions as 35 feet tall, 20 feet wide, with a 10-foot spout and a 15-foot handle. The town embraced it as a civic symbol, plastering the World's Largest Coffee Pot on everything from post cards to its police cars.

Mrs. Olson died in 1996, but her hometown fame only grew when Stanton erected a 96-foot-tall coffee cup-and-saucer water tower to supplement the coffee pot. Its capacity dwarfs the pot, holding 150,000 gallons of water ready for percolation. It won the "Tank of the Year" award in 2000 from the Steel Plate Manufacturer's Association.

By 2013, however, the coffee pot was no longer needed as a water tower, and Stanton acknowledged that it would probably be too expensive to maintain. The hope is to keep it standing until at least into 2015, when it could be replaced with a 25-foot-tall replica that would sit at the entrance to town.

Coffee Pot and Cup Water Towers

Grand Ave., Stanton, IA
At the corner of Grand Ave. and Thorn St.
RA Rates:
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