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America's Strangest Roadside Attractions

Stewart Cherlin

Leaning Tower of Niles, Niles, IL

A half-scale replica of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, this is water-tower art par excellence. Created by industrialist Robert Ilg in 1934, the tower teeters precariously on the main thoroughfare of Touhy Avenue above two swimming pools, in what used to be the company’s recreation park. Today, the tower has become a focal point for the small community, with concerts and an ever-expanding water park. Proving that flattery will get you everywhere, the unlikely bond with Italy was consummated in 1991, when Niles and Pisa became sister cities. —Adam McCulloch

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