New Satellite Images of WTWS

June 28th, 2016

I recently read that Google Earth updated their Earth images from Landsat 7 to Landsat 8. Of course the first view I had to inspect was the World’s Tallest Water Sphere and Kawameeh Park.

Google Earth WTWS

Google Earth WTWS

The image looks bright and clear with details I have never seen before. Rooftops, sidewalks, and streets look so clear. The colors (such as the golf course green) look hyper-realistic (not so great), but help clarify roads and green space. The labeling of landmarks and roads is excellent.

It is awesome to see from this vantage point the American Water painting on top of the water storage tank. This is something you only see from a plane or a detailed satellite image such as this.

This image looks like it is from the late spring or early summer. The trees are full. The swamp is green.

However, where are the cars? Is it possible they captured this photo Sunday at 6 a.m. with no cars in sight on Route 22 or the Parkway? Have the cars been edited? Is this a multi photo time image with cars removed? Is this the zombie apocalypse in Union?

Great photo. Thanks Google Earth.

Zoom Zoom Zoom!

March 6th, 2016

NYC Empire State view of WTWSHere is a great photo from 360 GigaPixels. This particular view is looking southwest from the Empire State Building in Manhattan towards New Jersey on 2016/02/24.

The photo resolution is an incredible 203200 x 101600. If you printed this at 300DPI, it would be 18 meters/57 feet wide and 9 meters/28 feet tall.

The top half of the photo contains the normal photo from the Observation Deck. You can see the Sun starting its descent into the late afternoon sky. Before the horizon, we see the Hudson River, Bayonne, Newark, and western New Jersey beyond. On the originating site, the photo appears to be a regular photo until you start zooming in more and more. The pixels flow almost endlessly with every zoom.

The bottom half is at maximum zoom. The photo shows the most interesting objects, circled in yellow. In the middle center, we see Newark Liberty International Airport. The control tower is slightly to the left of center. In the bottom center, we see a sleek helicopter zooming across lower Manhattan. In the upper right we see a jet plane, ascending greatly, leaving Newark Liberty, heading westward across the New Jersey Watchung mountains, the ridge that makes the horizon in this photo.

Most interesting to this site? The World’s Tallest Water Sphere of Union, New Jersey, is plainly visible from the Empire State Building.

Sunset Water Tower near Waco, Texas

February 15th, 2016

20160214 Waco TowerHere is another nice water tower shot near Waco, Texas. This photo is from our intrepid reported Jason Baker as he speed down I-35 around sunset.

Here is precise location on Google Street View, you can see it on the right.

The sun has rolled along the horizon where it has encountered the water tower blocking its path. The sun no longer can mover horizontally, and so it has to sink below the horizon.

The tower is a free-standing cylinder. It has a rather thick neck and cylindrical top. The trees are still mostly bare this time in Texas. The blue sky and luminous orange make for a nice sunset.

Round Rock Water Tower 2016

February 9th, 2016

20160209 Jason Baker Round RockHere’s a wonderful photo of the Round Rock, Texas water tower. This comes to our site from blogger and photographer Jason Baker.

Round Rock is north of Austin, Texas. It has an historical town center. This tower is close by.

From the photo, the tower is somewhat well maintained. No obvious problems, but it has some rust, and could use a new paint job. I give credit to the nice font, lighting, and identification of the location. This tower is one of many examples of the multi-column water tank. It is very simple to construct. It has proven its value over the long run.

No lights, no mobile antennas. Has Round Rock realized the value of their main attraction?

Northern New Jersey Drainage Basins

January 18th, 2016

20160118 NJ RiversMany New Jersey residents know towns, highways, and diners like the back of their hand. However, how many Jersayans can name the rivers or creeks of their local drainage basin (also known as a water shed). With so many rivers and streams heading to the Atlantic Ocean, I find it hard to believe that most Jersayans know their local river, and then do not know the next one over. This article is to help you understand the drainage basins in northern New Jersey.

1. First let’s look at the big granddaddy, the Hudson River. This is the massive 315 mile (507 km), 22000 cu ft/s (620 m3/s) highway that drains most of east New York. It separates New York from new Jersey in the north and is the reason we have the Holland Tunnel, Lincoln Tunnel, and George Washington Bridge, not to mention numerous ferries and bridges north. Jersey City, Fort Lee, the Palisades, and beyond. Big enough for Captain Sulley to land a plane safely. Resplendent with boats, cruises, and many events, this is a crown jewel in our country’s rivers.

2. Not so well known is the Hackensack River. About 54 miles (87 km) long, 173 cu ft/s (5 m3/s). This river borders many of the Meadowlands swamps and heads up to Jersey City, Secaucus, and up to the northern border.

3. Next up is the Passaic River. About 80 miles (129 km), 2,100 cu ft/s (59 m3/s). This river is the terminus for many northern New Jersey rivers, the Whippany, the Rockaway, The Pequannock, the Wanaque, the Rampano, and the Saddle rivers. Look at the beauty of all those local names! Many rivers near the Great Swamp, Short Hills Mall, the west side of the Watchungs, and Great Piece Meadows drain here.

4. The Morris Canal is not a drainage basin, but it is an important waterway in North Jersey. From the middle 19th century until the early 20th century, it formed an important highway between Pennsylvania and New York. Coal, iron, and passengers were transported in canal boats from Easton/Phillipsburg in west New Jersey, along multiple locks and ramps, and into a basin close to lower Manhattan. Today, these pathways and canals form an important greenbelt across northern New Jersey.

5. The Elizabeth River is a rather small river in northern New Jersey. However, it is near and dear to our hearts because it starts in the Kahwamee swamps in Union near the World’s Tallest Water Sphere. It heads through east Union, into Elizabeth, under Route 9 and I-95, the Jersey Turnpike, and dumps into Arthur Kill. From there it is a short paddle to the Goethals Bridge, Staten Island, the Bayonne Bridge, and beyond. How did Staten Island ever become part of New York state? From a geography perspective, it is closer, and looks more similar to Elizabeth, Linden, Carteret, and Perth Amboy.

6. The Rahway River is next and drains a major portion of northern New Jersey. Traveling upstream from the Arthur Kill, past I-95/Turnpike, Route 9, Route 27, and the Garden State Parkway, it branches into two sides. The east side goes up through Rahway, Cranford, Kenilworth, and Union. The west side goes through Middlesex and Shackamaxon.

7. The Woodbridge Creek is rather small, but it drains Woodbridge River Park to the east and Heards Brook to the west. Both of these small rivers pass under many New Jersey highways: I-95/NJ Turnpike, US 35 to the shore, and US9.

8. Next we have the Raritan River. This 30m (48 km) river with 1,070 cu ft/s (30 m3/s) is crossed by nearly all Jerseyans on their way to and from the Shore. From Perth Amboy, to Edison, and west to Somerville and the Round Valley Recreation area, this river drains most of central New Jersey. Many huge bridges take cars back and forth from north to south Jersey over this river.

9. Finally, in west northern New Jersey, we have the Delaware River. This mighty 301 m (484 km) basin with 14,119 sq mi (36,568 km2) of drainage, originates in New York, and drains both eastern Pennsylvania (including the Lehigh and the Schuykill), western New Jersey, and Delaware. Passing Easton, Trenton, Philadelpia, Wilmington, and Cape May to the sea, this is the border between New Jersey and states west. The next major basin nearby is the Chesapeake Bay.

We hope you enjoy this overview of the drainage basins of northern New Jersey. These rivers are the life blood of the people in the area for many ages. The names, the routes, and the history strike a resonant chord for all northern New Jerseyans.

Hey Abbott!

December 24th, 2015

Abbott Texas towerAbbott Texas has a nice water tower. As seen in the photo, the tower is white, has the town name, and is a true water sphere! It is relatively unencumbered with mobile phone antennas, although it does have aviation lights on top and two maintenance attachment collars beneath the sphere.

Although not very tall, it stands on a relatively flat plateau, so it can be seen clearly from Interstate 35 somewhere between Waco and Fort Worth. It also elevates the water to the highest point in the area, providing water pressure for all the toilets to refill with clean fresh water, ready for another dirty load.

This photo is the quintessential Texas farm photo. Dusky clouds float over the farm. An abandoned, rusting truck is parked beneath the trees awaiting its rescue or eventual decay.

The WTWS site wishes you and your family Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year!

Salado, Texas has a Water Sphere

November 29th, 2015

Salado Texas Water SphereSalado, Texas has a beautiful water sphere. This photo was taken along Interstate I-35 between Austin and Waco.

The Salado water tower is a true water sphere. It has the attractive double collar. It is still un-encumbered by lights and antennas.

In this photo you can see the sheet metal and weld lines. The sky provides a grave background. The ground shows a green and verdant base.

The town name faces west towards I-35, announcing the town to the travelers. The main roads through Salado face major construction as the corridor between Austin and Dallas/Fort Worth expands. Take some time to view this beautiful landmark in a great town.

Tower of Terror

October 27th, 2015

20151026TurkeyLakeFlorida800This water tower was spotted near the Turkey Lake plaza of the Florida Turnpike. Its ominous black silhouette fits perfectly with the Halloween season.

This is a rather unusual paint job for a water tower. What were they thinking? Is this some primer coat waiting for something more cheerful? It the intent to hide the tower like a ninja dressed in black? Perhaps the painters are fans of the black matte colors you see on muscle cars and motorcycle hogs. Is the black used to boil the contents on a hot, sunny Florida day? Perhaps proto-humans touch this black monolith and their culture is launched to the next awareness?

Nevertheless, it is a good looking tower. It is not a water sphere but your typical modern water spheroid, looking somewhat wider than it is tall. A few simple cell antennas are wrapped around the neck. A vent caps the top. The black paint allows you to see the seams in the sections on the spheroid. You can see approximately 14 to 16 sections on this side of the spheroid, each looks to be about 4 to 6 feet in width.

Alvord, Texas has a Water Sphere

September 5th, 2015

The Alvord Water SphereAbout midway between Fort Worth and Wichita Falls, Texas, the town of Alvord has a nice water sphere. It sits on top a hill on a bend in highway 287. The tower is a true water sphere. It is well kept, painted white, with the name Alvord on the sphere, and the high school team Bulldogs on the shaft.

In this photo, the water tower eclipses the hot mid-afternoon sun. The tower stands like a sentinel, guarding the town, and announcing all those who dwell beyond this point. The clouds float like a flaming crown above. The chain link fence and wires cage the beast within.

What is Going On in the Kawameeh Swamp?

August 2nd, 2015

SwampPiers-800There are many strange and wondrous things happening in the Kawameeh Swamp in Union, New Jersey, near the Kawameeh Junior High School.

People from this area in Union, New Jersey expect many off-beat weird things, but this must be one of the unexplained wonders. It is a swamp, so expect these things: reed grasses, water fowl, Kawameeh Junior High School, power lines.

However, see the strange pilings in the swamp! What is that? Remnants of an ancient boardwalk? Dock space for recreational boating? Easy access for World’s Tallest Water Sphere site-seers?

If you know the use or have photos of these pilings, please send them to this site.

So Big, So Blue, So Beautiful

July 26th, 2015

Lakeway Blue TowerHere is another big, blue, beautiful water sphere from Lakeway, Texas (near Austin).

Notice that this is a true water sphere, in fact it looks like a miniature version of Union’s World’s Tallest Water Sphere! See the navigation lights and the the lightning arrestors at the top. Also see the two rings for safety harnesses at the collar. It would be awesome of Cirque d’Solei to do some flippin’ stunts around this one.

I have to congratulate the folks in Lakeway. They have not one, but two true water spheres. They have impeccably maintained them with fresh paint. They are so shiny they must have just had a wax job. They also have provided a nice contemplative space at the base, complete with beautiful landscape, stone and wrought iron arches, ADA compliant sidewalks, and wonderfully clean grounds.

Gloom and Lasers

January 10th, 2015

Gloom and LasersHere is a dark and moody photo of the World’s Tallest Water Sphere that we call “Gloom and Lasers”

Notice the red laser guns firing as yellow explosions light up the base of the WTWS. Despite the blasts, the water tower remains firm and resolute against the nighttime Union skyline.

Thanks to our intrepid reporter Gina Signorella-Arlen for keeping us up-to-date with our first photo of 2015. Please send you contributions to our web master email.

Rocket Destroyed, Water Tower Survived

November 1st, 2014

Wallops Island Water Tower 2014This week on October 28th, 2014, an Antares rocket of the Orbital Sciences Corporation exploded on take-off at the NASA Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The rocket malfunctioned and was purposely destroyed. This photo shows the burn marks on the launch pad and the adjacent water tower.

We reported on the Wallops Island water tower earlier. We are happy to report that the 287 foot tower constructed in 2011 was only slightly damaged and survived the nearby conflagration.

Self Portrait with Water Sphere

October 18th, 2014

Scott and Water TowerHere is a beautiful self-portrait of a man and his water sphere.

This has got to be one of the best water tower photo angles I have seen. It almost looks as if the tower is in front of his face. Is it going to hit him in the head? Will he dodge the blow? Is the face looking down on a 1/72nd scale model of a tower?

The water sphere is on the property of the Moog Corporation in East Aurora, New York.

Engineers must feel proud working on the site of a true water sphere that is so well maintained.

Photo provided by Scott P. Shafer

Nice Watersphere in Pierron, Missouri

October 12th, 2014

This nice water tower from a September 2014 trip shows the Pierron, Missouri tower from US Interstate 70 near St. Louis. The tower is a true water sphere. I wonder why light blue is a common color. Perhaps it blends with the sky. Perhaps it suggests clean water. Notice also the convenient location of cell phone antenna.

We salute this wonderful water sphere!

Twin Towers

September 23rd, 2014

Twin water towers in MissouriHere is a photo for all water tower lovers that will have you seeing double. This photo was taken from a September 2014 road trip. The location is I-44 somewhere in Missouri (probably around Springfield). The prison assures humane treatment by providing redundant twin towers.

Note that the towers are not water spheres but rather spheroids. Still that does not deny their nice placement and the designer’s double vision.

Some Intense Commentary

March 20th, 2014

Every once in a while there are some posts about the Union water tower that get me thinking about the intensity of thoughts and the enduring imprint of the World’s Tallest Water Sphere. This post is over two years old, but for this site, it is the first time we have read and commented on it:

People from all over the world that visited Union back in the day remember the cold blue steel hanging over the town like the Trinity bomb did over the New Mexico desert.

For me, it is a reminder of the cold war days, just like those Saturday morning air raid test sirens and nuclear blast drills in grammar school.

The imagery and the intensity of the comment really strikes me. Like the author, I am a baby-boomer and experienced the Cold War days, the air raid sirens, and the nuclear blast drills. “Duck and Cover!” I have the image of Union’s water tower in my mind and in my heart with many happy and poignant experiences. However, I do not associate the water tower with the Cold War or nuclear blasts.

This web site has instructed me for many years, that the experiences and the impact of Union’s water tower has affected many people much more strongly than many other public utilities.

Fear No Sphere

January 12th, 2014

Our intrepid reporter Gina Signorella-Arlen sends in this report from December of 2013.

“Like Big Brother from “1984,” the WTWS is always watching… This time its likeness popped up at Monster Golf in Union, NJ.”

The artist is unknown, but if you find the name, please email, and we will update this article with the artist.

We love the black-light influenced glowing colors. The idea of Jack climbing the beanstalk and getting a drink of water from the “World’s Tallest Water Sphere” is ingenious too!

Blue Sphere, Blue Sky

December 30th, 2013

WTWS on Christmas 2013

WTWS on Christmas 2013

Here is a view of the World’s Tallest Water Sphere on Christmas Day 2013. This was a partly cloudy day around 30 degrees. Look at those clouds!

This photo show the grounds surrounding the WTWS from above. Notice the area is relatively clean and free of graffiti. The service buildings and asphalt looks in good shape too. The sky and trees look wonderful.

However, look at the state of that paint job. It looks like black mold on the underside of the sphere, and any semblance of a shiny auto paint job has left. Consider all the value the tower provides: five rows of mobile antennas, a navigation light, and fresh pressurized water for all the community. Time for a paint job.

Thanks for another year of browsing and supporting the World’s Tallest Web Sphere web site. I still have some reader contributions in the queue, and we hope to get to them soon.

Some Beautiful Painting in Rosemont Illinois

November 16th, 2013

Here is a link to a video about water towers from the Today Show. In Rosemont, Illinois, there is a nice water tower with a great “rose and stem” paint scheme. Notice the multifunction tower with its water supply and mobile antennas functions, and also the classy artistic paint scheme. Great water tower.

Also notice, not a water sphere.

Today Show on Water Towers