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10 water towers that look good enough to eat

By: Matt Hickman on March 26, 2015, 10:10 a.m.
Libby’s Water Tower, California

Photo: John Loo/flickr

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Libby's Water Tower, California

Sunnyvale, California, a sprawl of tech campuses and midcentury housing developments in the heart of Silicon Valley, isn’t the kind of place you’d expect to see a giant can of fruit cocktail jutting 150 feet into the sky. And that’s what makes the old Libby’s water tower, deemed a Heritage Landmark by the Sunnyvale Heritage Preservation Commission in 1987, so special.

You see, Sunnyvale was a different place before Lockheed Martin — and later, Yahoo and the gang — arrived on the scene. Pre-World War II, it was an agricultural outpost bursting with cherry, pear and apricot orchards. Established in 1907, the crown jewel of Sunnyvale was the Libby, McNeil & Libby fruit cannery, at one point the largest in the world. Erected in 1965, the can-shaped structure supplied the massive operation with water until 1985 when the complex was razed to make way for an industrial park.

Thanks to swift action by preservationists, the skyline-defining water tower was spared. In an effort to ensure Sunnyvale’s agricultural heritage — and status as the birthplace of fruit cocktail — would never be forgotten, a local artist transformed the 150,000-gallon reservoir into a 30s-era can of Libby’s fruit cocktail.