Saturday, May 11, 2019

The Long Lines - Part 1


In an article by 99% Invisible’s Kurt Kohlstedt, the author refers to ‘Long Lines’ towers as “Vintage Skynet.” While I very much appreciate the ‘Terminator’ reference, the towers’ purpose was (probably) less sinister, even with their military and technological implications. It was Kohlstedt’s research and highlighting of photographer Spencer Harding that first got me interested in these vestiges of the nation’s communication network—towers that blend in with ubiquitous cell phone masts, generally “30 to 40 miles apart.”







This is a two-part post:

PART 1 - Spencer Harding’s photographic work was an inspiration. While he spent six weeks road-tripping through California to create some stunning imagery of these Cold War obelisks, I was mainly in The Midwest when I started keeping an eye out. I tried to create unique compositions that captured the towers in a captivating way, but I didn’t always have the advantage of time, good light, or lovely California weather (except once). This first segment features one photograph of each tower I came across, an attempt to sum things up visually.

PART 2 - Others have written extensively about the 'Long Lines,' so I covered that history briefly and provided a closer look at the towers I encountered, as well as, their details.

Here's Part 1...

Long Lines Towers documented between December, 2017 and April, 2019:

New Hope | 2017

Blooming Grove | 2018

Wilmington | 2018

Mt. Vernon | 2018

Jamestown | 2018

San Diego (University) | 2018

Cleveland | 2018

Akron | 2018

Cincinnati | 2018

White Oak | 2019

Richfield | 2018

Blue Ball | 2018

Springboro | 2018

New California | 2018


For the backstory on what these towers were used for and a more detailed look at each one, check out Part 2.

Special thanks to Phil Armstrong, Travis Estell, and Tom Niehaus for their help on this series.

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