November 20, 2019

West Branch to become ‘Frown Town’


WEST BRANCH — People driving north on I-75 will no longer be greeted with a happy face.

City officials recently decided, beginning later this month, the famous smiley face on the city’s water tower will get a sadder expression. On April 13, the happy-faced tower will be replaced with a frown.

City officials stated that due to the poor economic state that Michigan is in, it just wasn’t realistic for the smiley tower to be so happy.

“With rising costs for water and sewer usage, as well as the fact that so many people are losing their jobs, not a lot of people are smiling anymore,” said Adam Zappel, a city official. “So why should that tower be so happy?”

“For so long, West Branch has been known as the city with a smile, but that just isn’t the case anymore,” said Chris Coe, another official.

After numerous complaints from people driving through town who said the tower just seemed too happy, the city hired Consultant Shanda Lear of Houston, Texas, who suggested painting a frowny face on the water tower.

“I know part of the appeal of the tower is the fact that it’s pretty memorable,” Lear said. “But a frowning water tower will be just as memorable, and it won’t irritate people as much.”

Lear also suggested a new nickname for West Branch — “Frown Town.” City officials said they were very excited about the idea, and were in the process of designing signs to be placed at both ends of the I-75 Business Loop.

Lear said there has also been discussion of choosing a new color for the water tower, instead of yellow.

“If we’re going to go up there and paint a small part of it, we might as well paint the whole thing,” Lear said. She added that the city was considering green, but thought it would make the tower look ill.

“A green tower with a sad face on it probably isn’t a good idea,” Lear said. “It might not make our city water very appetizing for visitors.”

Lear said the city hoped to paint the tower later this summer. She said the city is also considering some new events that it could host to go along with the sad theme.

Happy April Fools’ Day from the staff at the Ogemaw County Herald.


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This is a bad idea, no one will want to go to west branch with a sad face on the tower, it is a bad idea and who ever thought of this is either depressed or mentally ill! You will not attract new business to the already depressed and starving town if you have a big depressing sad ill generating face displayed and right at the forefront for everyone to see. No one will want to go there, why not spend the money on something encouraging. Something for the youth because they are the future!

Saturday, April 3, 2010 | Report this

I think this is a stupied idea. that smiley has been there since I was a kid and if you turn it into a frown, that will just make everyone more depressed then the already are. We need the smiley to encourage everyone that the economy is going to turn around. You have to have hope.

I hope you reconsider and keep the smiley going. ..

Living in Florida but, my mom lives in West Branch.

Sunday, April 4, 2010 | Report this

Ok now I get it. LOL

Ya'll got me on that one.

Sunday, April 4, 2010 | Report this

Good for you Honibear!! the first person sadly did not!! LOL

My husband is a city official or I may have gotten worried as well!

Great April fools prank!!!

Monday, April 5, 2010 | Report this

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