Poet Wallace Stevens’ first book Harmonium was published in 1923. But, discouraged by unenthusiastic critics, he took a break from writing poetry and didn’t publish anything throughout the remaining decade. Instead, he made a name for himself in the business world and rose to become the president of Hartford Accident and Indemnity by 1934. He stayed with this company until his death and oversaw some of the world’s most ambitious civic engineering projects. The Texas Towers among them.
“[Texas Tower number 4,] anchored in 30 fathoms of water, [about 180 feet,] rocked ominously in even moderate seas. Navy underwater survey teams identified and corrected some of the problems found with the supports, but nothing could offset the continual damage below the surface. [Hurricane Donna] battered the tower with 132-mile-an-hour winds and waves in excess of 50 feet, doing enough damage to force the Air Force and its construction contractor to specify February 1, 1961 as the date to begin completely renovating TT-4. A caretaker crew of 14 contractor maintenance workers and 14 Air Force personnel stayed aboard the tower. On January 15, 1961, a fierce winter gale bore in on the hapless station and ripped off all 3 of its legs in succession. Its 28 occupants sank with the platform into the sea; none survived.Excerpt from “The Emerging Shield”