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HOLMBERG: WTVR tower – a surprisingly gentle giant – turns 60

Posted at 1:05 AM, Feb 27, 2013

RICHMOND, Va. -- It was 65 years ago when WTVR first broadcast its TV signal – the first in the South – or at least, south of Washington DC.

Folks gathered in the street in front of a Miller & Rhoads storefront to watch this miracle wrought by automotive electrical whiz and media genius Wilbur Havens.

While other radio stations were scrambling to catch up to Haven’s tremendous head start in this brave new world, he pulled even further ahead by starting to build our famous tower on the back lot in 1952.

It would become the tallest free-standing tower in the land,  843 feet tall and 1,046 feet above sea level. It  gave our station amazing reach that made it a true powerhouse when it was switched on 60 years ago this month.

The tower has stood like a sentinel for these six decades, a well-known landmark. And not just a transmitter of TV and radio signals, but a generator of fanciful stories of daring and death.

Many Richmonders believe many is the number of lives this tower has claimed.

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