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Leaning water tower.

Leaning Tower of Britten

Field review by the editors.

Groom, Texas

The leaning water tower in Groom, Texas, raises a number of questions, including why it has "Britten" painted on it instead of "Groom." Turns out that the tower isn't the victim of a Texas twister or sinkhole, and it isn't a poorly spelled tribute to the Britons who settled this part of the panhandle.

According to Melanie Britten, who wrote to us in 2017, the tower was purchased by Groom at an auction in 1980. Unfortunately the bargain turned out to be bad one; the water tower never met code. What do you do with a water tower that can't hold water? Ralph Britten, who owned the local Tower Fuel Stop, decided to buy it cheap as an eye-grabber for his business. But he didn't paint "Tower Fuel Stop" on it, he painted "Britten USA," and he purposefully placed it at a slant to draw attention. "Instead of wasting it," Melanie wrote, "Ralph decided that anyone can have a water tower, but his was going to lean."

The Tower Fuel Stop burned down in the 1990s and Ralph died in 2000. His leaning water tower still draws attention, but only to itself.

Leaning Tower of Britten

Route 66, Groom, TX
I-40 exit 114. North side of the freeway. There is a place to pull in and turn around off of the access road, but the gate is locked.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Groom Cross: Titanic Texas TributeGroom Cross: Titanic Texas Tribute, Groom, TX - 2 mi.
Route 66-Themed Rest AreaRoute 66-Themed Rest Area, Clarendon, TX - 14 mi.
Six-Shooter BarbecueSix-Shooter Barbecue, Panhandle, TX - 17 mi.
In the region:
Petroleum Exhibit Hall, Borger, TX - 37 mi.

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