The Small Town: Blanchard, North Dakota – Population 26.
The Claim to Fame: The KVLY TV Mast
I have always been fascinated by the structure now known as the KVLY TV mast. In my teens, when it was known as the KTHI TV mast or simply, the KTHI tower, I liked to occasionally take the back roads on a weekend trip to Fargo just to stop by and marvel at it. If I was traveling with someone who had never seen it before, it was always fun to stop about 12 miles away and, ask them to guess how far away it was. A typical answer was 2-3 miles.
At 2063 feet, it is currently the tallest manmade structure in the U.S and the third tallest in the world. From 1963 to 1974 it was the tallest structure in the world. In 1974, the final segment of the Warsaw Radio Mast in Poland was completed, making it the new record holder, beating MY tower by a measly 58 feet! My tower was now in second place! I almost booked a flight to Poland with a hacksaw. As it turned out, this wasn’t necessary. The Warsaw tower collapsed of its own accord in 1991 and the KTHI tower was once again the world champion! Records will show that I was at a UND Fighting Sioux hockey game that evening and had nothing to do with the structure’s failure.
It wasn’t until 2010 that the amazing Burj Khalifa in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, stomped all over The KVLY tower with a final height of 2722 feet. Since then, another tower, in Tokyo, Japan, the Tokyo Sky Tree, has been completed, bumping my tower back to a still respectable third place in the world.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the KXJB TV mast, just a few miles down the road near Galesburg, North Dakota, is only four feet shorter than the KVLY tower. One day, in July of 1998, a crew that had just finished repairing this tower, temporarily affixed a 4 foot flagpole to the top and, for a few glorious days, it was the world’s tallest manmade structure.