Hughes Memorial Tower

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Hughes Memorial Tower
Hughes Memorial Tower.jpg
Hughes Memorial Tower (left)
Location within Washington, D.C.
General information
TypeRadio tower
Address6001 Georgia Avenue
Town or cityWashington, D.C.
CountryUnited States
Coordinates38°57′44″N 77°1′35″W / 38.96222°N 77.02639°W / 38.96222; -77.02639
Elevation288 feet (88 m)
CompletedJanuary 15, 1989
OwnerDistrict of Columbia Office of Property Management
Height761 feet (232 m)

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 for radio communication by the Washington, D.C. police department on the 460 MHz frequency band. Prior to 2017 it was used to propropagate the WDCW Channel 50 television signal, now relocated.[1]


It was named after then-retired Assistant D.C. Police Chief John S. Hughes, a leader in the department's adoption of communications technology.[2] 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). It is the tallest structure in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area. It was designed by Henry “Hank” McGinnis, a Texas engineer who designed other towers in the same style, known as Landmark or Adelphon.[2]


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 ten daytime strobe beacons, situated on each of the tower's legs at one beacon per 200 ft (61 m) and like many other television transmitters, one at the top of the WDCW antenna. The beacons are synchronized to flash at 1.5-second intervals. It also has nighttime red warning navigation lights. The design includes a ichthys, or Jesus fish, developed from early sketches of the structure.[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.

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."[3] 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."[4]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c Kelly, John (24 May 2014). "Soaring 761 feet, this radio and TV tower on Georgia Avenue NW is the city's tallest". Washington Post. Washington DC. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
  3. ^ (PDF) Archived from the original (PDF) on October 2, 2006. Retrieved September 12, 2006. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ "January 11, 2006: Radical Radio Tower".

External links[edit]