The Jefferson Iowa News®


  "Leaning Tower of Grain" Idea Collapses

A group of civic leaders from various Greene County communities recently returned from a trip to Italy, where they met with their European counterparts to discuss various ideas for injecting tourism dollars into their own Iowa communities. Tourism, it is thought, is a way to weather the economic downturn presently underway.

Many ideas were discussed, but our team seemed especially impressed with the world-renowned "Leaning Tower of Pisa", as it was viewed as a very affordable selection, if applied to the Greene County area. With this thought in mind, An old grain elevator southwest of town was hydraulically lifted to a 45-degree angle, and until very recently had been billed as the "Leaning Tower of Grain" (photo at left).

For a mere $45 per visitor, tourists were allowed to view the structure close-up, given a post card, and allowed free entry into the elite poster and t-shirt boutique. In addition, they were given coupons worth valuable merchandise at Jefferson-area retail stores, such as Wet Goods and Tri-County Lumber.

It was included in various local web sites as a "must-see" for all Iowa tourists, much the same way that the world's largest ball of string has attracted so many of us to that otherwise nondescript section of western Kansas.

It was said that, like the leaning tower of Pisa, the grain tower would continue to lean just a bit further with every passing year, making the enterprise even more interesting. Despite this, we all know that the tower of Pisa continues to amaze tourists every year, even though it has been artificially stabilized on repeated occasions.
It was assumed that the grain tower would also require occasional attention.

Unfortunately, disaster struck late last week during a visit from a Perry preschool group. It seems that before the elevator was strategically tilted, some one neglected to remove the grain from the upper loft, causing a crucial miscalculation in the balance of the structure. When the building teetered just beyond its original 45 degree slant, the entire elevator came crashing down, wounding three children and destroying nearly 300 unsold
t-shirts (photo at left).

The children appear to be OK, at least physically, but the loss of t-shirt revenue will be hard to recoup. In the face of this disaster, community leaders are considering flooding the north end of Jefferson and calling it "New Venice".


 Spencer Straight, 11-24-2008