How the tallest man-made thing in Maine compares to other tall things

Last week I wrote a post about how the tallest building in Maine compares to other tall things. Basically: With its tallest occupiable building — the Franklin Towers in Portland — Maine ranks 47th out of 50 states.

But some commenters had questions. What about the Penobscot Narrows Observatory? What about wind towers, or the transmitters at Cutler Naval Station? Aren’t they taller than the Franklin Towers?

Those are excellent questions.

The tallest man-made structures in every state, it turns out, tend to be antenna masts, and those are documented by a few federal agencies, according to the wikipedia entry for list of the tallest structures in the United States.

In Maine, it’s WMTW’s television Tower in Baldwin, at 1,667 feet. The runner up is WGME’s tower in Raymond, which is 1,624 feet tall.


That’s almost 400 feet shorter than the tallest structure in the U.S., the KVLY-TV mast in North Dakota, at 2,063 feet.


By comparison, let’s look at the very low frequency radio station at Cutler. The radio station is listed on Wikipedia as having been the most powerful radio transmitter in the world at least at one time. But it’s still not taller than those TV towers — its antenna system’s highest, central tower is 997.5 feet tall.


The state of Maine says that the Penobscot Bridge Obervatory is the tallest bridge observatory in the world. The bridge itself is 447 feet tall, and the observatory is 420 feet over the river — more than twice as tall as the Franklin Towers.


Now let’s look at wind towers. I checked around and the tallest one in the state is likely a turbine at the Bull Hill Wind Project in Eastbrook. Those turbines have a 312-foot hub and are 476 feet tall when the blade is pointed upward.


Of course, wind turbines feel much taller because they are usually on top of mountains.

Speaking of which, how does Maine’s tallest mountain compare to all these things? Katahdin is 5,268 feet above sea level, and its prominence is 4,288 feet — which is a topograph term to describe its vertical distance from the lowest contour line that encircles it that doesn’t encircle a higher peak. That’s roughly 2.5 times the height of the radio towers.


And that makes all these tall man-made things look pretty small.

Missed the article about Maine’s tallest buildings? Check it out here. Got another pressing question about Maine science or history? Ask us!