We don’t have any skyscrapers or other soaring architectural gems along the northern California coast to give the viewer that soaring, angular view. However, there are a few other imposing angular views on a more human scale, which compliment the ingenuity and craftsmanship of the rustic ranchers who settled this coastline in the late nineteenth, early twentieth centuries.
The ranchers needed scattered water supply points, and in the early days there was little or no power generation available along the north coast. Ranchers typically used windmills to lift water from a well to a water storage tank built on top of a high, stiff-legged timber tower. Water flowed by gravity in metal piping, from the tank to watering troughs for cattle, sprinklers for the hay fields, and to the ranch house.
Here are a couple of photos of a redwood water tower, probably built more than 100 years ago. That means it would have had to survive the 1906 earthquake, which demolished a nearby masonry lighthouse. However, a timber structure is more tolerant of seismic motion. Notice the intricate framing design bracing the tower legs. It still looks quite sturdy from the ground, but I didn’t want to climb it to investigate further!