(WSVN) - A piece of history that towered over this town since the 1940s has come down, but it’s a good thing, because it allows the future to come into focus. In what way? 7’s Patrick Fraser has the answer.

They have towered over South Florida for decades — from their North Bay Village home, when North Bay Village was just a narrow dirt road. Their bright red lights could be seen for miles, warning planes, transmitting WIOD’s radio signal.

And then, in the ’50s, WSVN built their station on the island.

Ed Ansin, president, WSVN-TV: “This has always been perceived to be the most beautiful broadcasting facility in the country.”

But the 300-foot radio towers did cause trouble. These photos from 2002 show the base of the tower was rusting away. A piece of the structure fell, hitting a car.

Ed Ansin, the longtime owner of WSVN, said, “Enough.”

Ed Ansin: “We are very concerned about the situation. They are putting our building at risk, putting our employees at risk, and the tower simply has to be maintained.”

The owners of WIOD installed a new tower, but times changed. WIOD moved, and put their towers off Krome Avenue.

Mr. Ansin passed away. His family bought the former WIOD land, and it was time for the towers to go.

Andy Ansin, CEO, Sunbeam Television Corporation: “Oh, it’s kind of emotional, actually. Driving over and seeing the tower came down and made me remember my grandfather and father. Yeah, they came through the doors of the building for 60 years, and we’re working under the shadows of the towers.”

Watching the removal of the two radio towers is fascinating. Two fellows from Tower King being lifted up, spending hours to make sure the bolts will come out when the crane is ready.

Kevin Barber, Tower King II: “Well, to us, we’ve done this so long, it’s become second nature. It’s like a monkey bar.”

But a monkey bar is not 300 feet in the air on a tower even a gentle breeze sways.

The workers have two wires attached for their safety, and not only do you have to be courageous to do this. Kevin says you have to be confident.

Kevin Barber: “Because you have to be comfortable to do the work that’s there. And if you’re nervous, you’re not paying attention, and then that’s where you can get accidents.”

This went smoothly. Watch as the top of the tower is lifted and slowly brought down to the ground.

Then the guys move down and unbolt the second section.

Kevin Barber: “We work as a team, and we make it look easy, but it’s a specialized industry.”

The towers came down in four pieces. As Andy and I talked, one piece slowly eased towards the ground.

The past is now allowing the future to unfold.

Andy Ansin: “Well, by coming down, it allows us to build new buildings here on the property.”

As the next section came down, Andy explained, the building will bring a baywalk for the residents of North Bay Village.

Andy Ansin: “I think, as importantly, it’ll finally allow the public to come out here on the peninsula, experience the bay. There’ll be a beautiful boardwalk and restaurants, and give the people access to the Biscayne Bay.”

And that may affect WSVN as well, as the TV station is completing plans for an anticipated relocation to the Miramar Park of Commerce.

As for the towers? Just a pile of metal.

Kevin Barber: “And then we’ll disassemble it, and then off to the scrapyard it goes.”

Then the second tower came down, this time in five pieces — lifted off and brought to the ground.

Both of them were here before most of us were born. Now a new era is coming.

Andy Ansin: “Mixed emotions, yeah. There’s sentimental for the past, but excitement for the future.”

A future that could take the area to new heights.

I’m Patrick Fraser, 7News.

Copyright 2024 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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