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Work got underway this week to dismantle the original Channel 10 tower in Appleton. The tower and the red schoolhouse that was moved to the site symbolized the community’s aspirations in hosting the public television station for the past 48 years. Submitted photo
Work got underway this week to dismantle the original Channel 10 tower in Appleton. The tower and the red schoolhouse that was moved to the site symbolized the community’s aspirations in hosting the public television station for the past 48 years. Submitted photo

Icon of Appleton skies sees its final days

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news Willmar, 56201

Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

APPLETON — A television tower that once symbolized a rural community’s aspirations is coming down.

A crew with Midwest Steeplejacks Inc., of Fargo, N.D., began work recently to dismantle the original Pioneer Public Television tower. Work is expected to be completed this week, weather permitting, according to Jon Panzer, engineering director with the public television station in Appleton.

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The 420-foot tower began broadcasting for channel 10 on Feb. 7, 1966.

The tower and the red schoolhouse that was moved to the site symbolized the community’s aspirations in hosting the public television station. Appleton is home to one of the very few public television stations launched independent of any large educational or other institution willing to take it under wing.

The tower that is being dismantled has served the station well, and probably outlived its projected life span, according to Panzer.

A 420-foot replacement tower has been erected a short distance away and holds the equipment from the original tower. Along with interconnect and relay equipment for Channel 10, the replacement tower also holds equipment for the Swift County Sheriff’s Office, National Weather Service, Otter Tail Power and Verizon.

Pioneer Public Television erected a 1,200-foot tower in the late 1980s to hold its broadcast antenna, which was originally located on the tower being dismantled. The 1,200-foot tower greatly increased the station’s broadcast reach. Its signal reaches a potential audience of 750,000 people in western Minnesota, eastern South Dakota and northern Iowa.

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