LAKE CITY, Iowa — Across Iowa, many towns are known for their water tower. It can be a simple tank on a hill, or a unique design high on a hill.
That’s what Ben Ludwig of Lake City noticed. The junior at South Central Calhoun High School was so interested in water towers, his mom, Sheryl decided to take him on a trip to see various towns’ water towers.
“He kept track of some of the towns but what water tower they had,” said Sheryl Ludwig, Ben’s mom. “The only time we went to that town was for swim team, Perry was the one with the Jayhawk water tower.”
The first water tower trip was in 2010. So far, the mother-son duo has visited 430 towns.
“Because they’re like different shapes they got different designs so it’s kind of interesting,” said Ben Ludwig. “I would say definitely the first trip was the most memorable because it was the original trip, we saw the Adair water tower, and we saw a cool Veterans Memorial Park in downtown Casey.”
“Because Ben just had such a passion for them, and Ben has autism so it was a good experience for him to be in unfamiliar territory,” said Sheryl. “We just kind of did it as a bonding thing.”
The local City Council learned of Ben’s love for water towers when the town was considering a new paint scheme for the Lake City water tower.
“So I put together a little slide show come on the coolest water towers we’ve seen and could possibly do for ours and I showed them off to the city Council and they were very impressed with it,” said Ben.
“With autism when Ben was first diagnosed he wasn’t in our world and it started slowly coming in sparkle started showing through what was the water tower thing he been talking for a couple of years, you could just tell he had the passion for it was something that he was interested in,” said Sheryl.
The trips center on water towers, but Ben also likes to pose in front of local fire stations, or at local parks in the communities they visit. Not all family members share the passion for water tower exploring.
“They all think we’re kind of crazy, they know that our water tower trips are sacred,” said Sheryl. “We’re going on a water tower trip on Saturday, and to us, that’s like a holiday.”
In all their travels, they normally don’t use Google, unless they get lost.
If you would like to see some of the Ludwig’s photos, click on Sheryl’s Facebook Albums here.