July 18, 2020
By Sandy Foster
As with everything else, the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Troop A Headquarters at the intersection of 291 North and 50 Highway has seen its share of changes.
Situated in Kansas City, Missouri from its inception in 1931 until 1938, Troop A relocated to Lee’s Summit on April 9, 1938.
The counties that comprised Troop A were, and still are, Bates, Benton, Clay, Carroll, Cass, Henry, Jackson, Johnson, Lafayette, Pettis, Platte, Ray and Saline. With responsibility for so many counties in such far reaching areas, officers needed to be able to communicate with Headquarters using a strong signal.
“The radio tower allowed communication from Headquarters to cars, wherever they were within our area of responsibility,” Sergeant Lowe, Public Information and Education Officer with Troop A explained in a recent phone interview. “The higher the tower, the better the signal. This was the highest spot of land that could be found, so it was decided that the building and radio tower would be built here.”
Although the exact date the tower was built is uncertain, it is believed to have been in use on Troop A grounds by 1969, and thus began its tenure as a communication mainstay. . .and a local landmark.
At 380 feet tall, it towered above the surrounding hills and gently sloping landscape. “The tower has been a point of reference for people for years,” Sergeant Lowe stated. “Now they will have to find a new landmark.”
On July 9, 2020, a crane was brought in and the tower was dismantled and taken down. Its tenure at the Troop A Headquarters is over. “The tower is now obsolete and no longer used for main operations. Everything has gone digital. We built a new tower off James A. Reed which is now our main tower with better signal for the entire Troop A. With the building of the new tower, it also led to the decision to take down the Troop A tower,” Sergeant Lowe said.
“There were a lot of dead spots with the radio tower. The digital signal is a much better signal. There are very few dead spots now.”
By 2013, the radio tower was beginning to be phased out and was eventually used as a backup. As the years passed, the need to utilize the tower as a backup came to an end and the decision was made to remove it altogether.
Crews were brought in on Wednesday, July 8 to begin the process and by Friday, July 10 the radio tower was down.