Tower of the Americas

Coordinates: 29°25′08″N 98°29′01″W / 29.418888°N 98.483611°W / 29.418888; -98.483611 (Tower of the Americas)
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Tower of the Americas
General information
TypeObservation tower
LocationSan Antonio, Texas, U.S.
Coordinates29°25′08″N 98°29′01″W / 29.418888°N 98.483611°W / 29.418888; -98.483611 (Tower of the Americas)
Construction startedAugust 10, 1966
OpeningApril 6, 1968
OwnerCity of San Antonio
ManagementCity of San Antonio and Landry's Restaurants
Antenna spire750 ft (230 m)
Roof622 ft (190 m)
Top floor579 ft (176 m)
Design and construction
Architect(s)Ford, Powell & Carson
Structural engineerFeigenspan and Pinnell
Entrance to the Tower of the Americas
The very top of the Tower of the Americas
View of Downtown San Antonio from the Tower of the Americas
The three elevators on the exterior of the Tower of the Americas

The Tower of the Americas is a 750-foot (229-meter) observation tower-restaurant located in the Hemisfair district in the southeastern portion of Downtown San Antonio, Texas, United States. The tower was designed by San Antonio architect O'Neil Ford[1] and was built as the theme structure of the 1968 World's Fair, HemisFair '68.[2] Originally known as 'HemisFair Tower',[3] it was ultimately named 'the Tower of the Americas' as a result of a name-the-tower contest created by the executive committee. Sixty-eight people submitted the name by which the tower is now known.[4]

It was the tallest observation tower in the United States from 1968 until 1996, when the Las Vegas Stratosphere Tower was completed.[5] The tower is the tallest occupiable structure in San Antonio, and it is the 30th-tallest occupiable structure in Texas.

The tower is located in the middle of the former HemisFair '68 site and has an observation deck, accessible by elevator for a fee. There is also a lounge and revolving restaurant at the top of the tower, providing panoramic views of the city.[6]


Background and construction[edit]

The Tower of the Americas was conceived as the theme structure for HemisFair '68, a world's fair held to celebrate the 250th anniversary of San Antonio.[7] Designed by local architect O’Neil Ford, construction of the tower began in 1966 and was completed in 18 months, in time for the fair.[8] The tower, including its antenna, stands 750 feet above the former fair site, now HemisFair Park.[9]

Construction of the tower was notable for its unique method. The 1.4-million-pound top house, containing observation decks and a restaurant, was built at ground level and then hoisted to the top of the concrete shaft, inch by inch, using twenty-four steel lifting rods. This process took twenty days.

Prior to Landry's, Frontier Enterprises (owner of San Antonio-based Jim's Restaurants) operated the Tower of the Americas' restaurant for more than three decades.[10]

CN Tower, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Willis Tower, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Stratosphere, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
• Tower of the Americas, San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
Space Needle, Seattle, Washington, U.S.

Tower heights[edit]

  • 750 ft (229 m) to top of the antenna.
  • 622 ft (190 m) to top of roof.
  • 579 ft (176 m) to indoor observation deck.
  • 560 ft (170 m) to outdoor observation deck.
  • 550 ft (168 m) to restaurant and stationary level.

FM radio[edit]

Since 1970 the roof has hosted a 30-meter-tall (98 ft) tapered steel mast, used as support for three FM antennas; 101.9 KQXT (then known as KCOR-FM), 102.7 KJXK (then KTFM), and 104.5 KZEP (then KITE-FM). In 2007, the three individual antennas were replaced by a 16-bay master antenna that radiates all three FM signals including the HD signal for KQXT. Clear Channel Radio and Electronics Research Inc. headed up the project along with their contractors and involved the City of San Antonio and Landry's Restaurants. The new antenna system improved coverage for all three radio stations. An option existed for several years to add facilities for a move in signal on 97.7 (requiring rearrangement of ten other stations) to share the site. This was organized by Bret Huggins and David Stewart of Rawhide Radio, LLC (partly owned by Hispanic Broadcasting, now Univision radio).

Transmitters are located between the public areas of the observation deck and the revolving restaurant in equipment bays along with air conditioners and plumbing.


The fastest recorded time up the tower's 952 steps is 5 minutes 18 seconds on January 29, 1981.[11]

This is one of two observation towers in Texas, the other being the Reunion Tower in Dallas.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gerem, Yves (2001). A Marmac Guide to San Antonio. Gretna: Pelican Publishing Company. p. 271. ISBN 1-56554-821-3.
  2. ^ Association, Texas State Historical. "HemisFair '68". Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved December 19, 2023.
  3. ^ "How San Antonio's most iconic skyline structure came to be". Express News. Retrieved December 19, 2023.
  4. ^ Danini, Carmina (April 5, 2018). "It was McComb's towering achievement". San Antonio Express-News. pp. A1, A11. Retrieved April 8, 2018.
  5. ^ "Tower of the Americas". Retrieved April 17, 2010.[dead link]
  6. ^ "Tower of the Americas". Retrieved April 17, 2010.
  7. ^ "History | Tower of the Americas in San Antonio, TX".
  8. ^ "The History Of The Tower Of The Americas In 1 Minute".
  9. ^ "Tower of the Americas - HemisFair'68 - LibGuides at University of Texas at San Antonio".
  10. ^ Association, Texas State Historical. "HemisFair '68". Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved December 19, 2023.
  11. ^ San Antonio Express News, January 30, 1981, page 12-A

External links[edit]

Preceded by Tallest Building in Texas
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Tallest Building in Texas Outside of Dallas and Houston
Succeeded by
Preceded by Tallest Structure in San Antonio
Succeeded by