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10 water towers that look good enough to eat

By: Matt Hickman on March 26, 2015, 10:10 a.m.
Ear of Corn Water Tower, Minnesota

Photo: uff-da/flickr

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Ear of Corn Water Tower, Minnesota

To the weary motorists traveling State Route 63, your eyes are not deceiving you: That is indeed a giant ear of husked corn emerging from the flat southeastern Minnesota landscape.

Described by the Rochester Convention and Visitors Bureau as a “powerful symbol of the community’s roots in agriculture and the land,” the 150-foot maize behemoth has been the region’s primary source of rubbernecking since 1931. Apparently, it’s also one of the largest architectural tributes to corn in the United States, second only to the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota. Adjacent to the Seneca Foods processing facility, this ear isn’t just for show; it’s still a functional 50,000-gallon water tower. Despite its (to quote the Rochester CVB) “cartoonish nature,” the tower offers a faithful representation of the real deal: It has the same number of rows of kernels (16) as an actual ear of corn. Although agriculture is still thriving in and around Rochester, the city is best known for mayo — the Mayo Clinic, that is.