Church Steeples as Cell Towers
May 1, 2003 11:44 AM   Subscribe

A higher power at work in church steeples In a move which I can't help think is twistedly brilliant, churches around the nation are beginning to reap benefits from the great wireless expansion. By turning their steeples. Into cellular towers.
posted by jeremias (13 comments total)
"Hey, God, can you hear me now?"
posted by padraigin at 11:56 AM on May 1, 2003

Enter L. Bob Rife
posted by pinto at 11:59 AM on May 1, 2003

Sweet. Finally they're good for something.
posted by scarabic at 12:01 PM on May 1, 2003

Funny - this is what I do for a living. Church steeples (and the occasional mosque minaret) make up about 25% of the designs we do for Sprint, Verizon, et. al. They are some of the most sought-after locations for wireless facilities because of stealthing requirements, and they don't complain about RF transmissions and such. Sometimes we even increase the size of their steeples (or even build new ones).
posted by laz-e-boy at 12:03 PM on May 1, 2003

Seems like a win-win to me.
posted by COBRA! at 12:22 PM on May 1, 2003

Another cellular target: fake trees
posted by Ogre Lawless at 12:37 PM on May 1, 2003

I've noticed this in Seattle. There's a fairly large church building on the east side of I-5 just north of the University District that has some prominent cell antennae, painted the same shade of brick as the building itself. I thought it was clever...
posted by Mars Saxman at 1:02 PM on May 1, 2003

churches around the nation are beginning to reap benefits

The NYT is way behind the curve on this one; I read stories about this years ago. Even this story's biggest example dates from 1996, for crying out loud.
posted by pmurray63 at 1:48 PM on May 1, 2003

Sometimes we even increase the size of their steeples (or even build new ones).

Indeed, here at the Chuch I attend in Atlanta, one of the wireless companies built a pretty big bell-tower for free that is used a cell phone tower.
posted by jmd82 at 3:53 PM on May 1, 2003

Cell towers. Various options include flagpoles, palm trees, and saguaros.
posted by dhartung at 5:44 PM on May 1, 2003

NYT is always behind the curve... probably on purpose, though, kinda for historicity's sake or something - like, by the time they print it, it's definitely not someone's 15 minutes.

This sounded kind of creepy and indicative of consumerism over everything etc when I first saw it, but really, like everyone's said, the steeples are already there, why not... And in a way it even gives churches a chance to be central to the community in a useful way, like the bell towers once were.
posted by mdn at 6:21 PM on May 1, 2003

There was one site my colleagues worked on that was on a rolling hillside. They hid the antennas inside a fake cow on the top of the hill.
posted by laz-e-boy at 12:21 AM on May 2, 2003

I don't know what to say! On one hand I think this is rather clever and interesting, on the other hand the expansion of cell phones makes me want to vomit. So torn. This is quite old news though, pmurry is right on the money, the "fort God" Baptist church in my hometown got an even more ludicrous steeple installed for free (making it look more like a diz-nee castle) because it housed a cellular array and that was when I lived there, and I moved away in 1993!
posted by Pollomacho at 7:17 AM on May 2, 2003

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