The Great Goat Tower of Shelby County

The Great Goat Tower in Shelbyville, Illinois.

Shelbyville, Ill. – (WTHI) The flatlands of Illinois. On a clear day you can see for miles. And if you are wandering around Lake Shelbyville in Shelby County, you may see something that catches your eye.

“It is a very unique structure. Is sits on a 10 foot square concrete four feet deep base structure. So it’s not going to fall over, we’re not going to have a leaning tower of Pisa” owner David Johnson explained.

Spinning up like a medieval lookout, David Johnson’s tower was spawned when he saw a similar tower in a wine magazine. Inspired and having a bricklayer handy, David got the idea off the ground.

“The bricklayer was here at our place for three years building the buildings and the fence. So he was finishing up and I said ‘Hey Jack. I’ve got one more project for you.’ and he said ‘You are the craziest guy I know, what do you have this time?’ So I showed him the picture and he said ‘well I’ve got to talk to my sons. I’ve got to get some help on this one” David said.

Brick by brick the tower reached thirty one feet into the sky. It may be hard to visualize what would possess someone to build such a structure. But to see why, all you have to do is to look up at what is looking down.

Photos | The Great Goat Tower of Shelby County

“The goats are genetically programmed to climb.” David explains, “so if you park your car out there they’ll be on top of it instantly.”

Climbing the winding steps upwards keeps David’s goats happy. But his wife had to warm up to the idea.

“Well first of all he approached me and here I am, I was teaching at the time, and I was busy. And I really just thought it was crazy” Marcia Johnson explains.

A crazy idea from her husband made just a little crazier because of one detail: they had no goats.

“We built the tower and it was sitting vacant, so we decided to fill it up” David said. “We bought eleven of them. And before we knew it we had 37. So we finally figured out what was causing the problem so we separated the Billy.”

The Johnsons extended family now stands at five.

“Since I’m retired it’s the thing that at eight o clock in the morning I’m out here feeding the goats and it sort of gets your day going. They’re fun to watch and see them leap around and have a good time” Marcia said.

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