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Articles & Local History > 1949 - TV Tower - AT&T Works for Coast-to-Coast Television

Photo by: Tim McLoughlin 2007

TV Tower south west of Tampico


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News Article: The Dixon Telegraph (Dixon, Illinois)October 15, 1949




A project undertaken by the American Telephone & Telegraph Co., when completed, will doubtless provide coast to coast television for millions, but at the same time accommodate a completely new radio telephone service which will operate under all weather conditions. One of the many units or this cross-country system is located about one mile north and west f Sublette in Lee county which can be seen for many miles. It is a concrete shaft 105 feet, ten inches in height which stands on a system of 48 concrete pilings which extend to a depth of 50 feet.


The shaft is 24 feet wide on the four sides and the walls are 12-inch thicknesses of reinforced concrete. The McDonald Engineering Co., of Chicago is the contractor for a series of the seven towers being erected in Indiana and Illinois which are located 40 miles apart.


A well organized crew of about 89 workmen labored continuously for eight and one-half days in pouring the concrete in the slip steel forms to complete the massive tower. None of the units has been completed, it was reported, and the system now extends west to Des Moines, Iowa, where construction of the towers ceases while engineering forces continue their surveys westward with the Pacific coast as their objective. One of the towers is located near the village of Lee in the east end of the county and another is near Tampico in Whiteside county. This latter structure will be 190 feet  high when completed. From the top of the Sublette tower can be seen the tower near Lee.


While operations at the Sublette tower are now at the standstill, it is expected that the unit will not be in use until probably late in the summer of next year. When completed, it was stated that current for operation of the towers in this vicinity will be furnished by the Illinois Northern Utilities Co., of Dixon, but each tower will be equipped with a diesel motor which will serve as an auxiliary power unit in the event of an interruption of electrical service, and the system will never be out of operation.


The towers will be governed by remote control from a central station in Chicago and will be entirely automatic. Much of the equipment which will go into the Sublette tower is now is storage in Dixon awaiting instructions for delivery and installation.


Television fans of the central west are to receive no benefits from the coast-to-coast system of towers, it was explained, as they are intended to provide 8 nation wide relay system for television. At the same time it is rumored that the town system will carry a radio telephone system which will eliminate interruption of cross-county telephone service during ice and sleet storms.


A tower near Valparaiso, Ind. is reported to be nearest completion and it is not expected that any further work will be done on the Sublette tower until next summer. Work on the Tampico tower  is now being rushed to completion before the arrival of freezing weather which would halt the pouring of concrete. George Weyant of Dixon has been employed as time-keeper on the construction of the Sublette tower and was spending today at the contracting firm’s offices in Chicago.


Photo Taken By: Tim McLoughlin 2007

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