Long Lines Site: Dover, MO

The Dover, Missouri Long Lines site was a microwave relay site used from the 1950s through the 1980s as part of the AT&T (Bell System)’s Long Lines microwave relay network, which relayed telephone, television, and other data traffic from coast-to-coast in the United States. The technology was eventually made obsolete by advances in fiber optics, resulting in the sites being abandoned or repurposed in the 1990s.

The Dover site is located two hops east of Kansas City on the Kansas City-Gray’s Summit route. In the 1960 route map, the site had hops to the west-northwest to Elkhorn, and to the east to Slater. This site carried both telephone and television circuits.

The site was also on the Helena, MO-LaCygne, KS “loop route”, where it relayed strictly telephone calls. In 1960, the Helena-Dover portion of that route was still under construction, but the Dover-LaCygne portion was completed. Dover had a planned hop to the northwest to Knoxville (which came online before the 1966 map was published) and to the south-southwest to Aullville.

The site originally consisted of a simple, small white block building, a typical sight on the Kansas City-Gray’s Summit route. (Elkhorn, Slater, Prairie Home, Holts Summit, and Hermann all featured the same building design. Gray’s Summit started out with this building design, but was later expanded as well.) The building was likely expanded in the early 1960s when the Helena-Dover portion of the loop route was under construction. The expanded building consists of the same, “semi-hardened” concrete building design found in the Kansas City-Lawrenceton route. (See Holden, Windsor, and Brinktown.)

It can be assumed that rising tensions during the Cold War prompted the Bell System to implement more hardened buildings, as most of these buildings were built later in the early-mid 1960s.

Today, the building unfortunately sits vacant – like the Slater site it once hopped to. The tower is owned by American Tower, a company which owns several former-Long Lines sites and leases space to cell phone carriers and other companies. The site has the ASR number 1010168. FCC records indicate the tower was constructed in 1954. It can be assumed that the original building and other Kansas City-Gray’s Summit route sites were constructed around the same time.

According to Randy Vanscoy, who submitted the below pictures, the site is in poor shape.

Photos – July 2021 (submitted)

These photos were submitted on a Long Lines Facebook group by Randy Vanscoy, a field engineer for the Missouri Highway Patrol who also operates many of their ex-Long Lines MOSWIN sites (such as Aullville, Windsor, and Brinktown.) Special thanks to Randy for allowing me to republish these photos here.

The site is located off MO-24 outside of Dover, a small town in rural Lafayette County between Waverly and Lexington, north of Higginsville.
The “newer” portion of the building, which consists of a concrete “semi-hardened” building. Oddly, the building featured windows – which was unusual for this building design.
One of the many entrances to the building, through another newer part of the building.
An intercom and door bell located near an entrance to the building. The site was unmanned and these likely were relayed to the regional office in downtown Kansas City.
This photo shows the difference between the original, white block building and the “semi-hardened” concrete building.
Another entrance to the semi-hardened addition. To the left of the doors is the “blast shield” – a regular feature of the semi-hardened buildings. The blast shield protected ventilation and other vulnerable parts from nuclear fallout, in the event of a nuclear weapon detonation.
A closer view of what’s behind the blast shield: a ventilation intake for the generator, and the exhaust for the generator. Most similar Long Lines sites featured a diesel General Motors genset, designed to keep the facility operational in the event of a power failure.
Signage for the tower, indicating the ASR number and current owner – American Tower. The site may be used as a cell site, as indicated by the RF notice.
A look at the waveguide cage, along with where they would enter into the building.
Finally, a look at the tower itself. The tower hopped to Elkhorn to the west-northwest, Knoxville to the northwest, Slater to the east (top platform, facing camera), and Aullville to the south-southwest.
Another view of the tower.

Special thanks to Randy Vanscoy for providing these photos, along with the permission to republish.

©2021 Garrett Fuller. Photos ©2021 Randy Vanscoy. Photos submitted July 27, 2021, page published July 28, 2021.