The Long Lines site in Slater, Missouri was part of the AT&T (Bell System) Long Lines network between the 1950s and 1980s. The Slater site, like all other Long Lines microwave sites, relayed telephone and television signals via microwaves before they were discontinued in favor of fiber optics and newer technologies.
The Slater site is located on Highway P about four miles outside of Slater, only about 3/4 a mile from the Orearville School. Due to its location (being half-way between two major cities, Saint Louis and Kansas City, as well as having a spur line to Moberly and Kirksville), this site would’ve endured high traffic during its operation.
This site originally had two pairs of KS-15676 horns – one pointing towards Prairie Home and the other pointing toward Dover – before they were removed. There was also another hop to the northeast towards Roanoke (according to the 1966 map), but I don’t recall the antennas for that hop. I remember those horns, as well as a shrouded parabolic antenna pointing towards Dover, being heavily worn and damaged.
I grew up near this site and my parents drove by it every time we went to town. Although the tower always interested me (as I describe in this entry), I never knew what it was used for until recently when I learned about AT&T/Bell System’s Long Lines system. I remember the tower’s horns before they were removed, as well. My dad recalls AT&T and Southwestern Bell (SBC) trucks and agents working on the tower and inside the base building.
A strange fact about this tower would be its size. It’s short enough that it doesn’t require any obstruction lighting, but still bears the white/orange paint.
Like other Missouri sites – for example Prairie Home and Holts Summit – this tower’s base station is a basic white cinder block/concrete building, an outhouse, and a fenced area in which the tower’s base sits and the waveguides would run into the building through. This site would’ve originally been a remote – or un-manned – site.
Although the site was once owned by American Tower, the site is currently owned by a company called “Sedalia Smiles.” While your first thought would be some type of dentist, a preliminary search returned that they at least owned one other tower. Although the site seems to be unused and the tower vacated, this can’t be confirmed. Attempts to call the number on the door were futile; the number has been disconnected. There is also no FCC records on this tower. (The audio player below plays recorded audio from the attempt to reach the number on the door.)
In “AT&T Long Lines – A Forgotten System”, I briefly discuss my personal connection to this specific site along with general information and history of the Bell System/AT&T’s Long Lines microwave relay network, and its deep impact on the telecommunications industry.
Photos taken July 16, 2018 using a Samsung Galaxy Express Prime 2. Updated 7-28-2021.