AT & T Outhouse situated at a
Microwave Radio Relay Site

An AT&T Microwave Radio Relay Site Outhouse
An AT&T Microwave Radio
Relay Site Outhouse

Photo by C. Gaylord
AT&T Microwave Site Outhouse Serving as a Martin Nest
AT&T Microwave Site Outhouse
Serving as a Martin Nest

Photo by C. Gaylord
An Aerial HIGH UP View of an AT&T Microwave Radio Relay Site Outhouse
An Aerial HIGH UP View of an
AT & T Microwave Radio Relay Site Outhouse
Can you find the Outhouse?

Photo by C. Gaylord
Electrical Potty at the Kings Mountain Microwave Tower
Electrical Potty at the Kings Mountain Microwave Tower
Photo by H. Nelson
    The left photo shows one of the 'standard' outhouses that accompanies every AT&T Co microwave radio relay tower, of which there are (were) hundreds. They will gradually disappear as fiber optics take over long distance communications.
    This particular outhouse is (was?) situated high on a ridge near Olga, North Dakota. The site was under construction at the time (July 1958). We were told that the outhouse would be more accessible after the site was brought up to grade. I certainly hope so. I would hate to have a 'real need' to use that outhouse the way it was at the time.
     The 35mm slide which these images came from were really cruddy. Mr. Gaylord cleaned them up as well as he could. I think they are pretty good considering they are over 40 years old!
    The person doing the 'long stretch' is Dean Erickson, a former co-worker. The other person is a local telephone man whose name I do not remember.
    The picture on the right is a picture of a martin (out)house that I took somewhere in Iowa. The building is yet another 'standard' AT&T outhouse situated at a microwave radio relay site.
    Before going to the site, I was instructed to leave the outhouse door open so that the martins could attend to their nestlings.
    This 35 mm picture, too, was quite cruddy and, to make matters worse, it was on anscochrome film. Mr. Gaylord doesn't know why he ever used the stuff.
    Mr. Gaylord does *know* that he is out of outhouse pictures. He doesn't take such pictures with reason.
    He says he might change his mind now that he has found my wonderful web site.
    The bottom picture one that he took of the 'old' Terrell, TX, tower from the top of the 'new' 325 foot tower. You can see the shadow of the new tower against the old one. And the small white building on the right side of the picture is yet another 'standard' outhouse. Local contractors built the buildings and outhouses to Bell System specifications. All of the towers were built in an Ohio steel works, disassembled, shipped to the site, and reassembled by the Tower Construction Company of Oklahoma City. The picture was taken in November of 1957.
    Although he didn't really expect me to use these pictures, he gave me permission to display them. Personally, I think they are an important part of American history and that's why I'm including them on the Outhouses of America Tour website. He also thought that I might like to see a vulture's eye view of one of our towers. By 'our' I refer to the former Bell System (RIP).
    Other information which might be interesting to all of you tower fans; Vultures *ate* the thick rubber restrainers off the waveguide runs at Terrell. He photographed the damage done and the people at Bell Labs couldn't believe their eyes when he sent them that photo.
    One never knows what to expect when you climb a tower to inspect it or uncover buried cable -- a species of grub worm ate through the underground lead covered cable in Indiana and a species of paper wasp stole the caulking out of Bell cornucopia antennae in Colorado.
    Here are some additional details from Mr. Gaylord about vultures, Terrell, Texas and microwave towers...
    A vulture does not build a nest. The female simply lays an egg on some guarded surface where it ill not roll away and where she can incubate it. What better place than The top of a cornucopia antenna? To a vulture, it looks like one great big egg crate. Although usually solitary, vultures will nest together at an ideal site.
    Our construction workers were attacked by vultures when they climbed the Terrell, TX, tower. The birds had planted several eggs on the antennae. As unattractive as a vulture may be, its method of attack is even less so. It vomits and defecates on invaders.
    When we called our Western Area office in Kansas City to ask what we should do about the big dive bombing birds, we were told that they are a protected under federal law and that we would have to give them sufficient time to incubate their eggs!
    So we and the vultures worked in shifts - which meant a whole lot of extra tower climbing. When on the tower, one person was employed with the task of keeping the birds at bay. He did so by throwing marble-size steel nuts at them whenever they got too bold.
    The birds did calm down by the third day. Maybe they ran out of vomit.
    P.S. The reason for building a second, taller, tower at Terrell was that a building being constructed in Dallas was about to block the microwave path from the Dallas telephone office to Terrell. You can see why fiber optic cable is the way to go!
    The photo at the bottom right was taken by H. Nelson. Here is what he wrote in an Email to me: Attached is a photo of what I was told is an "electrical toilet" that was inside the concrete block building at the foot of the King's Mountain microwave tower in Orrington, Maine. The site was shut down by AT & T in 1992, and in 2002 the building was "scrapped out" by an electrical salvage company. Knowing the owner of the company, I and several others got to go inside. The site also had the standard outside Outhouse in the confines of the wire fence. There are 2 Thrones at King's Mountain!

  What else can you see in the images shown? Many times a photo is worth a thousand words and I've only elaborated with a few so why don't you add some "color commentary" to my collection. If your addition is worthy, you will find the quote added on the Comments to the Curator page.

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This Home Page was created on May 28, 1999