Goodnight Raleigh - a look at the art, architecture, history, and people of the city at night

Another Downtown Eyesore Gets Modified

At about the same time that the the giant mural went up over the failed L-Building and current parking deck, another drab and lifeless concrete monolith downtown was also undergoing changes. The tall microwave relay radio tower attached to the AT&T building on Nash Square was dismantled over the course of a weekend.

Towers like this one were built all over the country in the 1950s and 1960s. The series of conical or parabolic antennas attached to them were pointed at a matching device far away in order to receive and send information. It’s kind of like two gigantic tin cans attached to an invisible string.

The main windowless AT&T building it once served was built in 1948. The poured concrete behemoth that sits on Nash Square serves as a giant relay station.

For several decades, the radio tower served as a supplemental means of sending and receiving data. Most microwave radio towers went into disuse in the 1980s when fiberoptic technology provided a much faster and cheaper way to carry data.

Crew descends after disassembling the upper levels of the tower

When I noticed the tower was being disassembled, I wasn’t holding out hope that AT&T would relocate and demolish that lifeless building. However, I was curious if something else might take its place. The crew taking it down said there was no real reason for the dismantling, just that AT&T finally wanted to pay someone to do it.

View from the top

Although I personally enjoyed looking at the pattern and structure of the microwave radio tower, I also realize that the vast majority of people consider it an eyesore. It served no purpose other than a jungle gym to a few urban explorers, so it was probably best that it be taken down.

Red clouds lying low over Raleigh, as seen from the tower

To learn more about the AT&T building on Nash Square that the tower was attached to, read the previous article: The Most Reclusive Building Downtown.

Images of Raleigh from the tower:

Leo also has a fantastic view of the radio tower over at the Raleigh Connoisseur.


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