Godwin’s water tower design turns heads

Published 11:31 pm Thursday, October 9, 2008

A huge structure looming in the near distance caused Larry Godwin to take a second, third and fourth look.

“My brother, Michael, and I were riding through the countryside near St. Louis when I saw this structure that looked like a castle that had fallen and left the turret standing,” Godwin said. “When Michael said it was a water tower, I told him to stop.”

Godwin was fascinated by the masonry tower and learned that it had been constructed in 1869.

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“It seemed to be more architectural and esthetic than functional,” he said. “You could go inside the tower and see the water compartment that was made of brass and I was fascinated by it.”

That was in 1979 and, since that time, Godwin has done many sketch designs of water towers that are as aesthetically pleasing as they are functional.

“I got to thinking about these utilitarian objects in our environment and that they are the biggest visual albatrosses that we have. I realized that it wouldn’t take much more to place them inside a sculpture.”

Godwin’s ideas fell on blind eyes until a young woman named Marian Wiley walked into his metal fabrication studio in Brundidge.

“Marian is an artist representative, an art consultant and a grant writer,” he said. “She is working with the city of Headland to resign certain areas of town and to plan a sculpture park in the center of town.”

Wiley liked several of Godwin’s ideas for gateways to the city and even caught on to his idea for a water tower.

“I did several sketches for her to present to the people down in Headland,” he said. “Some were comical and some abstract but none were like a peach or golf ball.”

The idea of a water tower as a sculpture was rather novel and Godwin said it took a little time for it to sink in down in Headland.

“It took them a while to see how it was going to go and they realized that it’s going to be a monumental work,” Godwin said. “But they knew, too, that a water town sculpture would attract a lot of attention. Many farming communities are looking for ways to bring people to town and a sculpture like this would bring people to town.”

The stainless sculpture would be between 120 to 130 feet in height and be linear in design.

“The design would cast linear shadows and lacy luminosity on the aqua-colored tower and make it visually exciting,” Godwin said. “It would be an unusual sculpture.”

Nothing has been set in stone as far as a contract for the sculpture. Godwin hopes that one day there will be.

He has made a small model of the sculpture and is working on a scale model that would be necessary if the city of Headland gives him the go-ahead.

“We’ll have to wait and see on that,” he said. “But if they decided to go with it, there won’t be another water tower like it anywhere around here.”