95-year-old man remembers WEAU's old and new towers

By: Amelia Cerling Email
By: Amelia Cerling Email

The story of our tower collapsing will likely become a tale many of us tell our grandkids. But what about the tower that was built before the Fairchild version?

We talk with a man who used to spend his lunch breaks watching our original 500 foot tower behind our station in Eau Claire get built, back in 1953.

Mannie Wold says he remembers the year our first tower went up well; it was the same year he got married.

“That tower took quite a long time to build. And that was the free standing one. That was the one that kind of stood out in my mind,” he remembers.

He even has a memento from the site, held onto all these years later.

So interesting to watch, he spent lunch breaks throughout 1953 and 1957 hanging out near the tower site

“Those climbers they were just out of this world, they could bounce around up there. I don't think they were so cautious, they're more cautious these days,” he says.

The lack of safety precautions compared to watching our newest tower be built, is one thing that stands out most in Mannie's mind.

“I don't know how anybody would risk their life, doing what they were doing because I think their life is short,” he tells us.

Video from the early 1960's shows our old control room at the Fairchild site at the very beginning. Mannie explains part of the appeal of watching these towers go up.

“Well it's something you don't see everyday that's for sure,” he says.

But when we asked if he'd like to see the view from on top he just laughs and says, “I’m afraid not, probably half way.”

Before last year's March storm tore down our 45-year-old tower, Mannie thought the building of a tower was something he wouldn't see again.

“No I never thought I’d see another one built because I thought that one down there would be there forever,” he tells us.

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  • by Bill Location: Altoona on Mar 23, 2012 at 06:01 AM
    I saw the story, I never know the man was 95. He was very informative and its good to have people that age on.
  • by Rick Location: Eau Claire on Mar 22, 2012 at 10:37 PM
    Nice package, Amelia! You've done a great job keeping us informed throughout the tower collapse and reconstruction. It's been quite the ride :-)
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