Water Towers, Rum, and the Revitalization of Small-Town America

Water Towers, Rum, and the Revitalization of Small-Town America

Water towers dot the landscape all across the USA; from South Georgia to the Midwestern Plains all the way to the Pacific Coast. These eye-catching structures stand as symbols of small-town America, evoking nostalgic thoughts of holiday bbq’s, backyard baseball games, and quaint corner stores. Many small towns have been swallowed up by shifting economic tides as much of the resources and industry that once were the center of so many communities has moved towards big cities or out of the country entirely. However, a renewed appreciation for small towns has recently been stoked by the interest of travelers looking for unique weekend getaways, bloggers searching for remnants of the American past, and yes, distilleries.

Craft distilleries, breweries, and wineries have played a significant part in the revitalization of rural towns over the last decade or so. Here in Richland specifically, rum has been the focal point of economic growth in a town that was once known for farming and as a railroad hub way back in the early 20th century. The farming aspect still plays an important role, highlighted by sugar cane growth which is cultivated for its juice that is used as the base ingredient for making Richland Rum. But the influx of visitors to the distillery has spurred other economic growth in the town of Richland, and this phenomenon is being carried out in much the same way all across the country where craft distilleries, breweries, and wineries are setting up production in towns just like ours.

As these towns experience renewed attention, much of their history is being uncovered and spotlighted. Once forgotten landmarks are having their importance shared once again, classic buildings with colorful facades are being restored, and massive water tower structures are being seen by more eyes than ever. Here in Richland, our water tower which stands at the intersection of Highway 520 and Highway 27 recently underwent a little bit of a facelift in order to highlight the significance which rum has played in the town’s renewal (see video). Water no longer flows from the tower, but rum is the new lifeblood of Richland. Here it is rum, but in other towns it may be beer, or wine, or coffee, or something else entirely but the common factor is that it is often something else which brings new life to a given town.

With a solid platform for economic growth, small towns like ours have a renewed sense of hope and purpose on which to build, and because of this, new generations of people will be exposed to the history of small town life and the vitality which it can bring to the economy at large. As this renewed emphasis unfolds, classic structures like the thousands of water towers which dominate rural vistas everywhere, will stand as symbols of a way of life which has endured and persevered for decades.

We hope all those who visit us at the Richland Distillery will stop by the water tower to snap a few pictures. In the meantime, be sure and check out this panoramic drone video showcasing the new paint job, and be sure to share with friends. Also, if you have any cool pictures of other water towers across the country, please feel free to share with us.