Britten USA Leaning Water Tower in Groom

By: jwilder


Forget about passports, expensive airfare, and learning Italian. We got your leaning tower right here in Texas!

Behold the leaning tower of Groom, Texas! One of the best roadside marketing gimmicks ever!

This eye-catching water tower was erected sometime in the 1980s by Ralph Britten (hence, the Britten USA painted on the tower).

Mr. Britten owned a café just down the road. As the story goes, he was looking for some way to store water for is café. Apparently after purchasing the water tower from a nearby town, he solved the water problem in a different way. But he now had a new problem - what to do with the huge water tower. So as any enterprising business owner would do, he put it to work to generate customers for his café.

I don't know if he originally had the idea to stand it up at an angle, but that he did. About 20° off center, some sources say. That 20°, my friend, is what turned a boring water tower into a famous roadside attraction!

Note that the tower of Pisa leans about 4° and looks like it is about to fall over, so I question the 20° number, but I digress.

Accounts say that the water tower was first balanced, then buried. That is, two of the legs of the water tower are buried and the other two legs are in the air. One source said they didn't even use concrete. It's simply balanced. That right there blows my mind, ten-four good buddy?

Unfortunately the Tower Café burned down sometime later and the building was bulldozed. However the café sign still remains.

groom-roadside attraction britten water tower sign Note the tiny version of the water tower on top of the café sign. One thing I noticed while looking at it is that there appears to be a water pipe and valve at the top of the tower. I'm assuming that this little water tower also spewed water in the air! I'll get back with you on that one.

Mr. Britten has passed away, but according to, his son now owns the water tower.

Long may it stand (or lean), as a testament to clever entrepreneurial marketing, a wonderful historic route 66 roadside attraction, and a memorial to the Britten family.


You can find this Historic Route 66 roadside attraction just East of Groom, Texas. If you are traveling west toward Groom on I-40, take exit 114 and look to the right. There's plenty of room to pull over.

James Wilder

James Wilder is the owner, writer, photographer, designer, and developer for MOTOR Texas.


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