Stanton Water Tower

Workers disassemble the metalwork base of the Swedish coffee pot water tower in Stanton in preparation for a three-block move to the city's Swedish Heritage and Cultural Center.

STANTON – The water tower fashioned to look like a Swedish coffee pot is no longer perched above this southwest Iowa town.

The water tank was cut from its moorings early this afternoon and lowered to the ground. It will be preserved as a piece of town history on the grounds of the Cultural Center, operated by the Stanton Historical Society.

The water tower, which had supplied water to the town since 1914, had been a visible symbol for decades.

The structure once looked like others that were perched above prairie towns like Stanton, which is about 60 miles southeast of Omaha.

But in 1970, the town’s centennial, locals started a campaign to repaint the water tower and add a metal handle and spout to make it look like a Swedish coffee pot.

It was a tribute to the city’s Swedish heritage and a nod to Virginia Christine, an actress and Stanton native. Christine appeared on American televisions as "Mrs. Olson" in Folgers Coffee commercials.

But the water tower had not been in use since December. In 2000, a new tower was completed, this one with a reservoir shaped as a Swedish coffee cup with the same floral design. The newer tower can hold up to 150,000 gallons of water, compared to the coffee pot’s 40,000-gallon capacity.

Both water towers were used, but by 2010 it was determined fixes were needed to the coffee-pot tower. With a $1.3 million water-system improvement project beginning that year, fixing the old tower would have been too costly and unnecessary.

The old water tower will be moved today to the Cultural Center. The empty tank will be hauled the three blocks through town on a trailer.

"Saving it, really saves a part of the community that would really be lost if it were just taken down and taken to a landfill or scrapped," said Courtney Harder, community development team leader with the Southwest Iowa Planning Council.

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