Lifestyle

Hill Country Resident Constructs Backyard Replica Moontower

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Bob Wucher, a resident of Liberty Hill in Austin, recently constructed a 29-foot moontower in his backyard. Why? He’s a fan of their history as well as their soft lighting. In 1894, the capital of Texas purchased 31 of these towers from the city of Detroit, Michigan. They were originally called “electric light towers,” and stood 165 feet in height. They featured large lamps that helped to light up the Texas Hill Country city in a soft light that resembled moonglow. By 1980, there were only 17 of the original towers still standing, some of which were moved and reassembled. One even continues to be the Zilker Holiday Tree anchor! But Wucher’s moontower stands as a peaceful symbol of a time reminiscent of a slower pace and a simpler life. It just happens to stand out in Liberty Hill.

Some of you may remember that the movie “Dazed and Confused,” based in Texas, immortalized a moontower such as the one Wucher has constructed. In addition, documentaries such as “Last of the Moonlight Towers,” as well as an annual event entitled Moontower Comedy and Oddity Festival paid a form of tribute to them. Even the Moontower Saloon, in South Austin, built a replica moontower after its namesake. As far as local historians know, those still standing in the Texas Hill Country are the only ones still functioning that remain in the world.

Hill Country Resident Constructs Backyard Replica Moontower

Photo:  @mreyz via Twenty20

In an interview about his own moontower, Wucher told NBCDFW, “I’m a lifelong Austinite, so have always been familiar with them and have been following their history. My dad and younger son also have an interest in Austin’s history and the towers would occasionally come up in conversation.” He began his own project in early 2019 and finished it later that summer. At 18 percent of the original size of one of these historic towers, it’s powered by a solar panel. Unfortunately, it’s not visible from the street, so taking a tour to check it out would be fruitless. During times when modifications or repairs are required, even his neighbors chip in to help lower the tower, using a pulley and ropes. Although you might be tempted to ask the retired civil engineer if he would consider constructing a moontower in your backyard so you also could have a piece of this Texas nostalgia to admire, the answer is already no. Wucher says he’s already satisfied in completing that particular challenge.