Hughes Memorial Tower

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Hughes Memorial Tower (left)

The Hughes Memorial Tower is a radio tower located in Washington, D.C. at 6001 Georgia Avenue, near the intersection of 9th Street, NW, and Peabody Street, NW. Built on January 15, 1989, the tower is positioned at 38°57′47″N 77°1′36″W / 38.96306°N 77.02667°W / 38.96306; -77.02667Coordinates: 38°57′47″N 77°1′36″W / 38.96306°N 77.02667°W / 38.96306; -77.02667 and at an elevation of 87.7 m (288 ft) above mean sea level. The tower is owned by the District of Columbia Office of Property Management. It is used to propagate the WDCW Channel 50 television signal and for radio communication by the Washington, D.C. police department on the 460 MHz frequency band. Standing at 761 ft (232 m) tall, the tower's height surpasses that the Washington Monument by more than 200 ft (61 m) and the WTTG Television Tower by 55 ft (17 m).

The tower is a three-legged, free-standing star tower, similar to that built in 1936 for the Naval Radio Transmitter Facility in Annapolis, Maryland and the Star Tower in 1991 for WSTR-TV in Cincinnati, Ohio. The tower features nine strobe beacons, situated on each of the tower's legs at one beacon per 200 ft (61 m). The beacons are synchronized to flash at 1.5-second intervals.

In 1998, the National Capital Planning Commission approved a plan to use the Hughes Memorial Tower as part of a 9-1-1 service upgrade. In doing so, it noted that the tower was constructed without its prior permission and that it has caused "concern about the effect of the tower on the views of the major monuments and memorials in the Nation's Capital."[1] The tower has also generated criticism by those in nearby neighborhoods within Ward 4; during the winter months, the police "frequently have to close the streets next to this tower because of the risk[s] posed by falling ice."[2]

The tower is located on a relatively high spot just off Georgia Avenue, NW, in Washington's Brightwood neighborhood, situated several miles from the city's main cluster of transmission towers in the Tenleytown neighborhood. Except for a much smaller transmission tower next to it, there are no nearby large structures. For these reasons, as well as its distinctive "star tower" shape and large size, the tower is prominently visible from a variety of locations in the District of Columbia and suburban Maryland.

The tower has a series of daytime strobe lights and nighttime red warning navigation lights.

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