The height of structures in the United States has been poorly documented. However, the data is a matter of public record, appearing in documents maintained by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

The KDLT tower, a 609.2 meters (1,999 ft)[1] high guy-wired aerial mast in Rowena, South Dakota, was completed in 1998 and appears to be the tallest.[2]

This list is populated heavily by antenna masts. The engineering aspects of super-tall masts are highly specialized. Only four companies erect the majority of such structures: Doty Moore Tower Services (Cedar Hill, Texas); Kline Towers (Columbia, South Carolina); LeBlanc Royal Telecom (Oakville, Ontario); and Stainless Inc. (North Wales, Pennsylvania). The design and construction are largely governed by RS222E Electronic Industries Alliance standards. A 1,000-foot (300 m) mast costs between $0.7 and $1.1 million to build, while a 2,000-foot (610 m) mast costs $2.4 to $4 million. Prices generally vary depending on tower capacity and wind loading specifications.

A common misperception is that landmarks such as the Stratosphere Tower are the tallest United States structures, but they are in fact the tallest buildings. Likewise Taipei 101 was often misrepresented as the world's tallest structure (although it was the tallest occupied building, before the certification of Dubai's Burj Khalifa as such), but in fact is far eclipsed by antenna towers in over a dozen states in the United States and in other countries.

In the United States, the FAA and the FCC must approve all towers exceeding 200 feet (61 m) in height. Furthermore, it is very difficult to get permission for structures over 2,000 feet (610 m) high. The FCC presumes them to be inconsistent with the public interest, while the FAA presumes them to be a hazard to air navigation, resulting in poor airspace usage. A significant burden of proof is placed on the applicant to show that such a structure is in the public's best interests. Only when both agencies have resolved all legal, safety, and management concerns is such an application approved.

Since 1978 the United States has maintained eleven tethered aerostats sites along the southern borders. These balloons rise to 18,000 feet (5,500 m), carrying radar units for drug interdiction purposes. However, since the balloons are aided by buoyancy and are not permanent they are not considered true structures.

State-by-state listing

Alabama

Alaska

Arizona

Arkansas

California

Colorado

Connecticut

Delaware

District of Columbia

Florida

Georgia

Hawaii

Idaho

Illinois

Indiana

Iowa

Kansas

Kentucky

Louisiana

Maine

Maryland

Massachusetts

Michigan

Minnesota

Mississippi

Missouri

Montana

Nebraska

Nevada

New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina

North Dakota

Ohio

Oklahoma

Oregon

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

South Carolina

South Dakota

Tennessee

Texas

Height data according to FCC's ASR entries.

Utah

Vermont

Virginia

Washington

West Virginia

Wisconsin

Wyoming


Puerto Rico

An incomplete list of the tallest structures in Puerto Rico. Main reference: U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) database

Structure Height (ft) Height (metres) Year built Structure Type Use Place Comments
Aguada VLF transmission mast 1,205 ft (367 m) 367.3 m ? Guyed mast VLF/LF-transmission Aguada operated by US Navy
Telemundo WKAQ TV Tower 1,105 ft (337 m) 336.8 m 1971 Guyed mast UHF/VHF-transmission Cayey
Cayey Pegasus Broadcasting Tower 1,091 ft (333 m) 332.5 m 1966 Guyed mast UHF/VHF-transmission Cayey Destroyed by Hurricane Maria - Sept 20, 2017
Arso Radio Tower 682 ft (208 m) 208 m 1996 Guyed mast UHF/VHF-transmission Cabo Rojo
La Cadena del Milagro Tower 548 ft (167 m) 167 m 1991 Lattice tower UHF/VHF-transmission Utuado Destroyed by Hurricane Maria - Sept 20, 2017
Arecibo Observatory 492 ft (150 m) 150 m 1963 Radio telescope Radio and Radar astronomy Arecibo World's largest radio telescope

By structural type

Tallest structures in the United States for different uses/structural types. Please expand and/or correct, if necessary

Category Structure City Height
Guyed mast KVLY-TV mast Blanchard, ND 2,063 feet (628.8 m)
Skyscraper One World Trade Center New York City, NY 1,776 feet (541.3 m)
Guyed mast insulated against ground VLF transmitter Lualualei Lualualei, HI 1,503 feet (458.1 m)
Chimney Homer City Generating Station Homer City, PA 1,217 feet (370.9 m)
Concrete tower Stratosphere Tower Las Vegas, NV 1,149 feet (350.2 m)
Free-standing lattice tower WITI TV Tower Shorewood, WI 1,081 feet (329.5 m)
Bridge Royal Gorge Bridge Cañon City, CO 1,053 feet (321.0 m)
Suspension Bridge Golden Gate Bridge San Francisco, CA 746 feet (227.4 m)
Dam Oroville Dam Oroville, CA 770 feet (234.7 m)
Masonry Anaconda Smelter Stack Anaconda, MT 585 feet (178.3 m)
Monumental column San Jacinto Monument La Porte, TX 567 feet (172.8 m)
Stone Washington Monument Washington, DC 555 feet (169.2 m)
Electricity pylon Sunshine Mississippi Powerline Crossing [3] Plaquemine, Louisiana 540 feet (164.6 m)
Industrial building VAB Kennedy Space Center, FL 526 feet (160.3 m)
Church Riverside Church New York City, NY 392 feet (119.5 m)
Aerial tramway support pillar Roosevelt Island Tramway New York City, NY 250 feet (76.2 m)

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ "Listing 1042104". Antenna Structure Registration database. U.S. Federal Communications Commission.
  2. ^ Brady, Paul (6 December 2017). "The KDLT Mast, The World's Almost-Tallest Transmission Tower Stands In South Dakota". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 27 September 2021.
  3. ^ List of tallest structures in the world#Current
  4. ^ "Louisiana's tallest tower collapse adds to Ida broadcasting outages | Wireless Estimator".
  5. ^ "FCCInfo Structure Registration Results".
  6. ^ "FCCInfo Structure Registration Results".
  7. ^ "FCCInfo Structure Registration Results".
  8. ^ "Licensee for Ozarks Public Television reaches $3.2M settlement from 2018 tower collapse".
  9. ^ "Office Buildings - Skyscrapers || World Trade Center".
  10. ^ "FCCInfo Structure Registration Results".
  11. ^ "FCCInfo Results".
  12. ^ "LORAN-C General Information". www.navcen.uscg.gov. Retrieved 2021-06-02.