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There is no real tribute to Spreckels Sugar
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Editor, Manteca Bulletin,

In response to comments made two weeks ago, Manteca’s Water Tower is a “landmark”.  In fact, it is a local and a regional landmark.  By definition a “landmark” is a geographic feature used to find ones way back or through an area or an object or feature of a landscape or town that enables someone to establish their location or includes anything that is easily recognizable, such as a monument, building, or other structure.  As such, the old elevated water tower is by any definition a “landmark”.

The last “tribute” built in the community that identifies a destroyed historical Manteca and regional landmark is a small, hidden display of corrugated piping set vertically with a plaque that commemorates where the substantial Spreckels Sugar factory stood for nearly 90 years.  Truthfully, the piping display and the plaque are not much of a tribute to the people that erected and worked at the sugar refinery or to their struggles, their hearts, their faith, their values and their principles; at least not in the same scope as the subsequent development, which embodies a different tribute.

The truth is that demolishing the old water tower will cost more than leaving it as is.  Frankly, our history and landmarks are being “gifted away”, that is why we do not have a “real” tribute to the Spreckels Sugar refinery and another McDonald’s restaurant is replacing the historic Whitaker house.

In response to news that a 4-million gallon water tank will be built at Atherton Drive and Woodard Avenue, I say, great!  It is a long needed response to the declining municipal water system volume.  However, let us not confuse the issue; it is a separate and different matter from the existing elevated water tower at Wetmore Street and South Main Street. 

Benjamin Cantu


June 3, 2012