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What Is the Leaning Tower of Texas (and Why Do People Visit It)?

You’ve probably heard of the Leaning Tower of Pisa and its four-degree lean. It’s a little over 183 feet on the short side and almost 186 feet on the tall side. But did you know there’s another leaning tower?

This one is in Texas along the historic Route 66. Let’s learn more about why people visit the Leaning Tower of Texas.

Where Is the Leaning Tower of Texas?

If you’re planning a trip along Route 66, you’ll probably see this water tower in Groom, Texas. Sitting off Interstate 40, or old Route 66, the water tower is east of Amarillo and about three miles from another Groom roadside attraction, the giant white cross that stands just off Interstate 40.

The Leaning Tower of Texas is on the eastern side of the Texas panhandle, less than 70 miles from the Oklahoma border and about 114 miles from the New Mexico border.

Why Does It Say ‘Britten’ And Not ‘Groom’?

The water tower has the word  “Britten” on it instead of the word “Groom.” This isn’t an indication of the town but rather the last name of the man who purchased the water tower: Ralph Britten. Britten owned a truck stop and restaurant and wanted something to catch drivers’ eyes so they would stop.

He got it when he purposely slanted the water tower.

Pro Tip: While exploring Texas, make sure to check out these 10 Unusual Things To Do in Texas.

Leaning Tower of Texas
Visit the famous Leaning Tower of Texas while driving through the Lone Star State.

What’s the Story Behind the Water Tower in Groom?

Ralph Britten purchased the water tower from the town of Lefors, which slated it for demolition. He towed it to Groom, about 34 miles southwest of Lefors. Using a bulldozer, Britten elevated two legs into the air to make an 80-degree angle with the ground.

His marketing ploy was successful as drivers would stop to ask about the water tower and how it hasn’t tipped over, then spend some money in Britten’s truck stop and restaurant.

Why Hasn’t the Leaning Tower of Texas Fallen?

Britten must have been an intelligent man because if he filled the water tower or left it empty, it wouldn’t remain upright since the mass would have been directly in the center. So he filled it only partially so the water inside would sit above the two supporting legs.

Can I Still Visit the Truck Stop and the Tower?

Unfortunately, the truck stop burned down in the 1990s. However, the Leaning Tower of Texas is still standing tall and slanted. It’s easily accessible from Interstate 40. Take exit 114, and you’ll find a place where you can pull in and turn around. It’s a fun spot to take a few photos of this roadside attraction before getting back onto the interstate.

Close up of water tower in Texas
While cruising down Route 66 there is lots to see and do.

Other Unique Attractions Along Route 66 in Texas

If you’re looking for more unique attractions as you travel Route 66 in Texas, there are many. Five of the most common locations stretch from Shamrock, Texas, in the east to Adrian, Texas, in the west. Amarillo and Groom have a couple of fun roadside attractions worth stopping to see.

The Groom Cross

A few miles down the interstate from the Leaning Tower of Texas is the Groom Cross. Things are big in Texas, and this cross is another example. Towering 19 stories, its official name is “The Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ.”

You’ll find stations of the cross surrounding the base, a gift shop, and restrooms. There’s also a makeshift empty tomb. Even if you’re not Christian, this icon is a thing of beauty and skill.

Cadillac Ranch

Have you ever wanted to spray paint a car? If so, you have to stop at Cadillac Ranch. Another popular roadside attraction off Route 66, this isn’t a ranch at all. It’s ten Cadillacs half-buried nose-down in the ground. They range from a 1949 Club Sedan to a 1963 Sedan de Ville. This iconic location has welcomed travelers since 1974 to leave their mark. Bring spray paint or buy a can at a truck on-site.

Pro Tip: We took a closer look to find out Is Cadillac Ranch on Route 66 Worth A Visit?

The Big Texan

The Big Texan in Amarillo is home to the 72-ounce steak dinner. This challenge invites guests to eat a shrimp cocktail, a baked potato, a salad, a roll, and a 72-ounce steak in one hour. Numerous people have succeeded while plenty more have failed.

If you can’t beat the challenge, you must pay the full $72 for the steak dinner. It’s fun to watch people sit down and try. However, it’s a little less fun to see what sometimes happens when they finish!

Route 66 Midpoint

In Adrian, Texas, you’re 1,139 miles from Chicago and 1,139 miles from Los Angeles. This Route 66 Midpoint is a fun location to grab a selfie by the sign. Across from the sign is a cafe, which is convenient for grabbing lunch on your way down Mother Road.

Although the restaurant opened in 1928, it didn’t get the name Midpoint Cafe until 1995. It has operated under numerous owners throughout the decades.

The Conoco Tower Station

Initially built in the 1930s, this gas station and cafe, the U-Drop Inn, closed in the 1990s. It was a busy location since the closest restaurant was a hundred miles away. But when Interstate 40 replaced Route 66, it fell into disarray.

Today the Conoco Tower Station is in use by the Shamrock Chamber of Commerce as a tourist office after receiving repairs and renovations. Inside, you can grab a seat in the retro café and soda fountain. You might even find out where Elvis once sat.

Is the Leaning Tower of Texas Worth Visiting?

If you’re into quirky roadside attractions, you must stop at the Leaning Tower of Texas in Groom. It won’t take long to venture off the interstate and snap a few photos. However, it’s an unusual spot to add to your Route 66 travels. All these attractions are easily accessible and won’t add much time to your drive. Why not stop and take a gander at this slanted water tower? It is a work of physics and one of the most unique oddities you’ll find along Mother Road.

Is a trip through the Texas panhandle in your traveling future? Tell us in the comments!

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