TELEPHONE CENTRAL OFFICES
SOUTHFIELD CENTRAL OFFICE
AMERITECH-SBC CO and AT&T MICROWAVE TOWER
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Thanks to Bruce in Arizona for photos
The Southfield central office serves the area of Southfield about 8 miles northwest of Detroit. The original office was built in the 1940s by Michigan Bell. The office was expanded in the 70s and 80s having then been taken over by Ameritech and most recently SBC. Southfield became an important site for AT&T Long Lines when a microwave tower was erected in the mid 1960s that provided connection between Detroit "Main" and Milford. The AT&T Southfield site was interesting in that it was constructed to be survivable to a nuclear blast over Detroit. The Detroit region was considered to be a "first-strike" target during the Cold War due to the heavy industry (Car plants, Tank factory, etc) located there. Many governmental studies used Detroit for planning when it came to nuclear attack scenarios. The building had 18-inch thick reinforced concrete walls, modified tower structures and microwave antennas and emergency generators that would allow the site to continue to function in the event of the worst. The CO also had a "Doomsday" radio system that operated in the HF band. This system was to be used if the worse happened so that the Bell installations around the country could get together on the air and assess condition and damage. It was placed at Southfield because of its "survivability". This system has since been moved to Warren CO. Today the CO has numerous switches, both SBC and many wireless/independents.
Microwave paths from Southfield were: Detroit, Milford, Plymouth Junction and Pontiac (not 100% sure of this one though).
Main building entrance looking southwest.
Building looking northwest. Note, conceled emergency generator exhausts.
Tower looking toward the northeast. Bottom horns pointed toward Plymouth Junction .
Tower looking toward the northwest. Top horns pointed toward Detroit.
Close up of top horns pointed toward Detroit. Note modifications. Also a short-wave radio antenna??? Also note the bottom "outrigger" for another antenna either already removed or never placed in service.
Northeast side of tower. Horns pointed to Plymouth Junction. Top horns to Pontiac. (?)
An interesting warning sign at tower base, fitting on this day yet unheard of out west here!
Detail of tower base and waveguides.
Tower looking toward the southwest.
Looking up from the base of the tower.
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