This is the Cedar Hill candelabra tower, back when it was the first big tower at Cedar
Hill. Looking west-northwest. Notice that Joe Pool Lake is
completely absent from the top of the picture. In fact, it's hard to find any signs
of civilization except for a farm house here and there.
Construction of this tower began on May 2, 1955, and was completed by late
This is a really good picture, so I have included
a close-up. (4 Megabytes)
Down in the lower right corner there is
a "HAZ" warning sign for pilots, located between the northeast guy anchor and Belt Line Road. I've
never seen that sign, so I guess it must have been removed before 1981.
Closer examination (of this and other photos) reveals the presence of these "HAZ" signs at all three
Another view of the old Cedar Hill transmitter site shows the transmitter buildings for
WFAA-TV and KRLD-TV. Later, a third building for WBAP-TV was placed between
these two, and the Channel 4 antenna was modified for simultaneous use by
Another view of the tower, looking north.
Also available in
a larger version. (3.11
Megabytes) The highway behind the tower is FM 1382, and just to the right of the tower you can
see the Dallas Naval Air Station, but a photo from the same perspective today would also show
several large neighborhoods in Cedar Hill and Grand Prairie.
Close-up of the top of the tower, taken from the photo above. Years later, this would become an
ENG receive site for WFAA and KDFW. A military aircraft collided with this tower in April of
1987. Shortly afterward, a new tower was built about a quarter mile to the southwest, and the
candelabra was removed from this tower, leaving a really nice backup tower which is now 1240 feet
Yet another view of the tower, looking NNW. Just to the left of the tower you can see
Belt Line Road, which used to go through a little valley between the Cedar Hill Tower
and I-20. Joe Pool Lake is there now, and the road is underwater.
Another view of the
Cedar Hill tower, looking WNW. Helicopter blade at the top.
Looking up the tower, you can see
a series of anemometers along the side. I recall reading (many years ago) that the FAA placed
these anemometers every hundred feet or so, to study changes in wind direction at various altitudes
(within the first 1500 feet) above ground.
Also in this shot you can see a couple of six-inch rigid coaxial transmission lines going up the
tower. At that time, six-inch coax (actually 6-1/8") was probably the largest available
size. Today there are
larger sizes up to 9-3/16" that look almost like air conditioning ducts.
Data Set DS-9694, "Cedar Hill Tower Data", was collected between 12/23/1960 and
The anemometers were used while studying the behavior of vertically integrated boundary-layer winds,
and temperature fluctuations in the atmospheric boundary layer.
Looking north, another view of the
quiet farmland that was once so typical of Cedar Hill. Today there are a lot of really nice
houses in this area.
This tower has ten-inch solid steel legs. It is quite strong. The base is a stack of steel plates
sitting on a 33-foot hexagon of reinforced concrete, 13 feet deep, and mounted on a three-foot
pad. I was once told that the total downward pressure on the base of this tower, when
the candelabra was in place, was 740 tons, including the force resulting from the tension on
the guy wires.
This was the license for the main transmitter, a few years after these
pictures were taken. Included in the license, of course, are the technical specifications
of the tower. Eventually the tower also supported the antenna for WBAP-FM, later known
Back in 1980 and 1981 I worked vacation relief shifts at the KXAS-TV transmitter,
which is why I came to appreciate this tower so much. Working at a transmitter
site can be very educational, and 30 years ago it was also a place to send old timers
who were nearing retirement. A few of the old guys just wanted to be left alone, but
most of them would gladly teach you everything they knew.
Detail, showing the
transmitter buildings and the Hill Tower building where the electric power feed comes in from two
directions. (That doesn't matter as much today because everybody has generators.)
Also in the Hill Tower building (in the foreground) is an FAA
warning beacon on
353 kHz, feeding an antenna suspended between two telephone poles. (The second of the two poles is
off to the left.) The beacon was originally just to warn pilots about this one tower, but it now warns
about the "Cedar Hill antenna farm."
Updated 5/13/2006: Another view of the tower from
a higher altitude.
The ribbon of trees along the top of the picture shows the path of a creek which became Joe Pool Lake
after the dam was built in the early 1980s.
This is a work of art, if you
Updated 8/14/2008: Here we see the other end of the guy wire,
but this is at the top of the new KDFW/WFAA tower, not the original tower shown above. Notice
the massive gusset plate and other steel hardware in use here. Notice also that the tower isn't
painted orange and white because it has strobe beacons active during the day.
Near the lower right corner of this picture, notice the two cars parked at the transmitter
building — about 1500 feet straight down.
The view from up here is
evidently quite good, even on a hazy day. Downtown Dallas is about 20 miles to the northeast.
After you "click to enlarge" this picture, you'll see a thin white line running down the middle
of a residential area at the bottom of the photo. That's the wall along Clark Road, just
northeast of its intersection with FM 1382.