Resident reflects on sight of tower through the years

A snowstorm Jan. 18 caused a 60-plus-year-old TV tower to collapse near Beaver Crossing.

The tower, owned by KOLN-TV, helped carry the signal for channels 10 and 11 to Beaver Crossing and the surrounding area.

KOLN reports that no one was injured when the tower came crashing down and that it has restored service to most, but not all, of its area viewers.

Beaver Crossing resident Elaine Phillips wrote the following recollection of the tower:

“Beaver Crossing lost a landmark late Friday night when the Channel 10 tower fell. High winds and ice caused it to collapse onto itself.

“It has stood tall and strong for over 60 years and withstood the tornado in 2014, which took down structures near it, and the ice storm of 1976, which left parts of the surrounding area without power for nearly three weeks.

“Frankly, I think it is pretty amazing it stood that long. It was 1,500 feet tall on only a 10-foot base. Some powerful engineering kept it up a long time.

“We live straight west of the tower remains. It was front and center in the picture windows of both houses. Curtis (Phillips, father-in-law) used to check it before he went for a flight in his airplane. If the top was visible, he knew he had a 1,500-foot ceiling and could fly VFR (with visual flight rules).

“When our children were small, we could stand in front of the picture window and watch the lightning and sometimes see it strike the tower. That was spectacular!

“When it was first built, it was 1,000 feet tall and was the only tower in the area—pre-cell phone towers, which now pepper our neighborhoods—and could be seen for miles.

“When Curtis and Gladys (his wife) and their boys would come home from their frequent Kansas trips, Curtis would tell them to watch for the tower. Ted (Phillips, husband) said it sometimes could be seen 25 to 30 miles away as they drove north on Highway 15—Beaver Crossing’s version of Chimney Rock.

“Though our dad was great for Sunday afternoon drives, I don’t remember checking on the construction process as it was being built, though Judy Stutzman and Virginia Davis do.

“I’m not sure, but living in the river valley, we probably didn’t get a TV until some time after the tower was built. Channel 10 was likely the only channel available to us, and since we still rely totally on our rooftop antenna, the Channel 10 tower provided us with over half our stations.

“That is how we learned it was down. “No Signal Available” was the message blinking on the screen when we turned the TV on late Saturday morning.

“Ted speculated there was something wrong at the tower. He went to look out the picture window—What Tower? It wasn’t there!

“Later in the afternoon, we drove out to the site, just four miles east, to see what we could see; not much because of the dense windbreak. We drove up a field drive and hiked in closer.

“What a mess! Most of it had fallen on itself except the very top fell northwest through the trees. I picked up a large, heavy chunk of ice. Was that the straw that broke the camel’s back?

“The big cables must have danced on the ground and trees when they broke, because there were bare broken limbs and thrashing marks in the snow.

“Ted took some great pictures and put them on Facebook and emailed them to my siblings and our kids who grew up in its shadow.

“Now what? People in cities may have Channel 10/11 back, but we don’t. We watched CBS Sunday Morning on the computer, but that isn’t a fix. Will we have satellite and dish salesmen knocking on our door? We’ll see how long we can tough it out minus Brad Anderson and Ken Siemek to guide our daily activities.”

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