It has been at over 60 years since the White Oak Microwave Transmitter Tower became a nostalgic icon in the Greater Cincinnati, OH area for miles around. Like a true friend, the tall microwave transmitter tower is a beacon of memories shining a wondrous era gone by. When I was a little girl during the 1960’s, I used to call White Oak, OH’s microwave transmitter tower, “The Dream” and I would have a grand old time ducking from this unique structure each time my grandparents and I traveled past it. I was always fascinated as to how “The Dream” would appear to be moving in the distance, chasing my grandparents and I, despite it being a truly permanent, stationary fixture. Oh, the creative imaginations of children, as they “dream on!”
While traveling past “The Dream” in their car, I will never, forget me, as a little kid, giggling and exclaiming to my grandparents, “Duck, Papa and Grandma! ‘The Dream’ is going to get us—-duck!” In reply, my grandpa would laugh and say in his Jimmy Stewart tone of voice, “Ah——! I’m going to just put a little salt on it (“The Dream”), eat it, and make it go away! It won’t get us, then!” With that, my grandma also joined in the laughter, as “The Dream” was like a tornado that never seemed to catch us.
Years later, I get a refreshing chuckle each time I journey past the White Oak Microwave Transmitter Tower, which was built in 1949 as part of AT & T Lines. Sadly, my dear grandparents passed away during the 1990’s, while I shall always cherish my fond memories of ducking from “The Dream” in their car as a little girl. Unfortunately, the American Dream has long “ducked” from millions of U.S. citizens, including myself. Each time I travel past White Oak’s tall microwave transmitter tower, I continue to “dream on” in hopes of a brighter future.
History of White Oak Microwave Transmitter Tower
As a classic icon dotting Cincinnati, OH’s landscape, the White Oak Microwave Transmitter was constructed in 1949 as a 147-foot Type 4A concrete tower by Cleveland, OH’s National Concrete Fireproofing Company. In turn, National Concrete Fireproofing Company used a fixed form of construction when they built White Oak’s and other microwave transmitter towers, which included sixteen from New York to Chicago transcontinental microwave route around the same time. Originally, these towers were constructed to provide network television programming throughout AT & T Lines, as they serviced customers throughout Cincinnati. In addition, TD-2 equipment was used for Cincinnati’s microwave route, while not directly connected to the main microwave transcontinental and coax route by microwave radio. Instead, the L1 coax was installed about the same time from Toledo, OH, in order to broadcast television signals to Dayton, OH.
From Dayton, OH, one branch of the microwave route transmitted signals through Ohio’s cities of Springfield, Catawba, and Columbus, while another branch carried the signals through Springboro and White Oak to Cincinnati. White Oak, OH’s microwave transmitter tower originally had its delay lens antennas on the roof, as later on, a steel tower supported KS type horn antennas on the roof, eventually replacing the delay lens antennas. Indeed, the White Oak Microwave Transmitter Tower is AT & T Lines’ most unique tower, since its space diversity receive antenna is installed upside down in an unusual arrangement. Moreover, microwave transmitter towers come in various shapes and sizes, including the tall concrete ones.
Nevertheless, White Oak remains a suburb of Cincinnati, OH and features the only tall, concrete microwave transmitter tower in the area. However, in downtown Cincinnati, a much smaller, non-concrete microwave transmitter tower carries signals from on top of downtown’s Cincinnati Bell Building on 7th and Elm Streets, along with other microwave transmitter towers across the world. Amazingly, White Oak’s and other microwave transmitter towers are still standing years later throughout various cities, as aspiring legends of their time. Going forth into the 21st Century, updated maintenance of AT & T Lines’ magnificent microwave transmitter towers continue as they remain vital telecommunication relays.
Long gone are the glorious days, when refrigerators, cars, and other items were “built to last,” while AT & T Lines’ microwave transmitter towers are no exceptions to this rule. Sure enough, Elton John’s 1985 song, Still Standing bears testimony of the microwave transmitter towers proudly “still standing after all this time.” Indeed, the White Oak Microwave Transmitter Tower was a real dream come true for Cincinnati, OH in ways of improved telecommunications technology.
AT & T Long Lines Microwave Towers. Path Preservation. Copyright 2013. http://www.drgibson.com/towers/
I’ll Still Standing . Elton John. Lyrics.com. Copyright 2013.
LaFrance, Albert. AT & T Long Lines Places and Routes. 11 April 2013.
Michaels, Terry. AT & T Long Lines: White Oak, OH. 12 September 2003.
Wolfgang W. Scherer. INFO: Microwave Transmitter Towers. 10 June 2013 http://www.reach.net/~scherer/p/mcrwvtwr.htm