The Tallest Structure in Missouri Is Basically a Ladder to the Clouds

Written by Jennifer Geer
Published: July 8, 2023
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When you think of the tallest structure in Missouri, you probably have the St. Louis Gateway Arch in mind. While the arch is the tallest monument in Missouri (and the country), it’s not the tallest structure. It’s not even close. The honor for the tallest structure in Missouri goes to the KMOS-TV broadcast tower in Syracuse, which stands at 2,000 feet.

Gateway Park National Park

The KMOS-TV Tower is nearly three times as tall as the St. Louis Gateway Arch.


The KMOS-TV Tower is the Tallest Structure in Missouri

At 2,000 feet (609.4 meters), the KMOS-TV Tower is nearly three times the height of the Gateway Arch. While not the tallest structure in the world, that would be the Burj Khalifa in Dubai at 2,717 feet; nor the tallest in the United States (KRDK-TV Mast, North Dakota, 2,600 feet); the KMOS-TV tower is one of the tallest structures in the world.

The KMOS-TV tower was constructed using 18,000 bolts, 11 miles of electrical wire, and 42,000 pounds of rebar for the foundation. The mast weighs one million pounds, and that’s excluding the elevator, antenna, and wires.

Master Control room for KMOS-TV programming

KMOS-TV is a PBS member television station with a transmitter tower located in Syracuse, MO.

©KOMUnews / CC BY 2.0 – License

History of the Tallest Structure in Missouri

KMOS-TV is a PBS member television station. It’s owned by the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg. The studios are located on campus, while the transmitter tower is in Syracuse, MO.

Built by Rohn Industries in 2001 to 2002 and inaugurated in 2003, the broadcast tower was erected to help increase coverage of the channel as it transitioned to broadcasting digital frequencies. The channel serves as a member station for the Columbia–Jefferson City market.

Why Are TV Broadcast Towers Built So High, and Why Are They Striped?

vertical picture of KVLY mast

The KVLY-TV Tower is similar in size and structure to the 2,000-foot KOMS-TV Tower.

©Ratsbew at English Wikipedia / CC BY 3.0 – License

TV towers, or TV transmitters are, in essence, massive antennae. Hence, the taller the tower, the larger the broadcast radius, and the more markets the TV channel can reach. 

As for the distinct striping, since the mid-1930s, the Federal Communications Commission has required TV towers over 200 feet to be lighted and painted in bands of white and red to make them visible to airplanes.

Where Is Syracuse, MO on a Map?

Syracuse is a small town in Morgan County. Located in central Missouri, it’s around 100 miles east of Kansas City and about 50 miles southwest of Columbia. 

The town was originally named Pacific City and was the last stop for trains coming from St. Louis on the Pacific Railway. Syracuse was involved in several Civil War battles, which left the previously booming town of 8,000 ruined and burned to the ground. As of 2021, the population of Syracuse stands at 156. 

Over 100 unnamed soldiers from both sides are buried in the town. Not much is known about Syracuse’s early history, as most records were lost in the fires. A permanent marker recognizing the community’s role in Missouri’s Civil War past stands outside the Syracuse Park House.

What Wildlife Lives Near the KMOS-TV Tower in Syracuse?

Not far from the KMOS-TV tower, natural areas provide refuge to a diverse population of wildlife. The Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area is about an hour’s drive from the KMOS-TV tower. The Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area, located along the Missouri River, provides habitat to many bird species, including shorebirds, ducks, and American white pelicans

Two pelicans

American white pelicans can be found in Missouri.

©Susan Rydberg/

The 4,286-acre is a well-known location in the area for bird watchers looking to spot rare birds in wetland habitats. The state has successfully been working to restore wetlands to the area since 1989.  

The Missouri River

There is a variety of wildlife living in the water and along the banks of the Missouri River. For example, many fish species swim in the waters including:

Many species of birds live near the river, from raptors to waterfowls (mallards and Canadian geese), to rare species such as the American avocet

Yellow Warbler

Yellow warblers migrate through Missouri in spring and fall.

©Agami Photo Agency/

Other birds found in the area include:

Eastern milk snake, Lampropeltis triangulum

The colorful eastern milk snake lives throughout Missouri.

©Jeff Holcombe/

Reptiles and amphibians you might encounter in the area include:

Mammals Around Syracuse

A wide array of mammal species live in central Missouri. For example, predators like foxescoyotes, and bobcats roam the countryside. Additionally, other mammals include white-tail deermuskratswoodchucksskunksbeaversEastern gray squirrels, and chipmunks.

And finally, located about three hours to the southwest is Prairie State Park, where a herd of 100 American bison roam freely on the 4,000 acres of tallgrass prairie land.

Bison Kansas

A herd of 100 American bison roam freely on 4,000 acres of tallgrass prairie land in Missouri’s Prairie State Park.

©Ricardo Reitmeyer/

The photo featured at the top of this post is ©

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About the Author

Jennifer Geer is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on animals, news topics, travel, and weather. Jennifer holds a Master's Degree from the University of Tulsa, and she has been researching and writing about news topics and animals for over four years. A resident of Illinois, Jennifer enjoys hiking, gardening, and caring for her three pugs.

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