[By Tina Koyama in Seattle] More than half a century ago, a water tower was built in Seattle’s Maple Leaf neighborhood. Although it served the area for decades, at some point it was determined that the filled tower, which can hold 8 million pounds of water, wasn’t seismically sound here in earthquake country.
I hope those of you in the northern hemisphere are beginning to enjoy spring sketching!
By 2010, the tower had been emptied and out of service for a while, and cellular and other companies took advantage of its 100-foot height to support communications antennae and such. But even an empty water tower requires maintenance, so the city considered taking it down. Maple Leaf residents, however, fondly saw the tower as a neighborhood icon and were distressed by talk of destroying it. Fortunately for us, the communications antennae brought the city enough revenue that the tower was saved. In recent years it has even received cosmetic improvements, and the maple leaf motifs surrounding the tower were restored. Pale blue against a sky that’s often gray, the tower has an unobtrusive but historic presence.
A short walk from my home, the tower has been the subject of many sketches. (Shown here are a few I made today and over the past couple of years.) Because it’s close and convenient, it’s often the place I head for at the first sign of spring weather. After a record-breaking wet winter, Easter day brought us temperatures in the low 60s. I immediately set out for Maple Leaf Park to officially initiate outdoor-sketching weather. The forecast says we’re back to rain again soon, but as long as we get occasional sun breaks, I’m OK with that.