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Saturday 24 January 2009

The day the music died

February 3rd 2009 is the 50th anniversary of the deaths of Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and The Big Bopper in Clear Lake, Iowa, USA which has become in popular culture "the day the music died".

How does that have any significance to water towers?
Well, in the American Midwest, and Clear Lake is a very good example, the most obvious manifestation of a town in the wide open prairies is the water tower. To aid early aviation, the names of towns were painted on the water towers and the tradition continues to this day. Buddy Holly and company died in a plane crash after taking off from Clear Lake on a snowy night heading for Fargo which the pilot would have probably located by the water tower.

BWTAS member Tim Oxton sent in this photo of his friend Ron in California and his sisters who originally hail from Clear Lake and in 2008 had a reunion there. Ron wrote, inter alia:

In the photo, along with myself, are my two sisters. The mural is in the Clear Lake Library (built 1896 and recently enlarged). It shows the end of Main Street which dips down into the lake so people can unload their boats. The water tower stands where my father had a very successful gas station until they decided to build the new water tower there.”]

The Des Moines Register has a good story and video about the British fans who come to Iowa every year to remember Buddy Holly.

UPDATE April 2013: the water tower is now being demolished. 

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