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Friday 29 May 2009

Delta Force

It may be only 50,000 gallons and made of rusted metal but it has an unusual double tank design. The 1904 Rio Vista water tower on the California Delta (near Sacremento, USA) is a such a well known landmark to river traffic that it has just been dimantled to become the centrepiece of a new development.

The SF Chronicle reports "city leaders hope a new 'Discover the Delta' center will draw visitors, jolt the local economy and brand the delta as a unique California destination on par with the redwoods, mountains and coast.

The nonprofit center will include a model of the delta, a wine tasting room, farmers' market, classrooms and a museum showcasing the agricultural and cultural history of the region. Organizers hope to break ground on the $5 million project this summer and open to the public by next year."

People from the Rio Vista community turned out in their hundreds to see the workers dismantle them 135 foot tower which will be restored before being moved to its new home across the river. The event was also opportunity for local schools and community groups to get involved creating exhibits celebrating the tower's iconic status.

Officially called the Dutra tower these days, the tower had previously been owned by the Rio Vista Canning and Packing Company, Del Monte (known in the UK for tinned fruit cocktail) and then Blackwelder Manufacturing. The agricultural purpose of the tower explains its double tank design; the lower tank was for drinking water, the upper tank powered a flume that transported asparagus for processing and packing. Ninety percent of the world's canned asparagus, mostly white asparagus, was packed here. In the mid-sixties, the tower began to show its age and sprang leaks and was taken out of service.

The Dutra company donated the tower to the project. We couldn't agree more with their choice for an eye-catching iconic landmark than a water tower.

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