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

Written by Mandy Trotti
Updated: September 22, 2023
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Historic buildings, charming small towns, and natural beauty make Vermont a popular destination. Although the tallest man-made structure in Vermont isn’t a skyscraper, it provides residents and those passing through the city with the entertainment they need during their commute. Discover the tallest structure in Vermont and find out where it is, how it compares to the largest building in the state, and what animals call the same unique city home. 

What Is the Tallest Structure in Vermont?

The tallest structure in Vermont is the WCAT (1390 AM) radio tower, located in the city of Burlington. Built in 1981, the WCAT radio tower stands 445 feet tall. It was originally the only radio station within the city’s limits, broadcasting to residents and any passersby at 5,000 watts all day and night. Next to the radio tower is a 358-foot directional aerial tower that protects other stations from crossing radio waves throughout the night. Additionally, a 266-foot tower stands in the vicinity. The three-tower directional antenna allows the radio station to broadcast continuously. 

The WCAT commercial radio station serves the Burlington-Plattsburgh, Vermont, area. The transmitter for the WCAT radio tower is right off Intervale Road. The AM station, last owned by Radio Broadcasting Services, also aired on an FM translator so listeners could tune in using their FM stereo. The WCAT radio tower hosted many different stations over the decades until WCAT’s license was surrendered in November 2022. Despite the changes, the tower still stands, practically touching the clouds over the state.       

WCAT Radio Tower, tallest structure in Vermont

The WCAT radio tower is 445 feet tall, making it the tallest structure in Vermont.

©Necrat at English Wikipedia / CC BY-SA 3.0 – License

The Tallest Structure in Vermont Compared to the Tallest Building in Vermont

The tallest structure in Vermont isn’t the only record-breaking man-made structure in Burlington. The Decker Towers is a 124-foot, 11-story apartment building on St. Paul Street. The city of Burlington purchased the Decker Towers after its original construction as a turn-key project in 1971. Since then, the Burlington Housing Authority has owned and managed the building. It provides affordable, public housing for seniors and adults with disabilities. Despite being the tallest building in Vermont, the Decker Towers is 321 feet shorter than the tallest structure in Vermont, making it the shortest on the list of tallest buildings in the U.S.

Decker Towers in Burlington, Vermont. Tallest building in Vermont.

At 124 feet, the Decker Towers is the tallest building in Vermont.

©Thing User / CC BY-SA 4.0 – License

Cities Closest to the WCAT Radio Tower

Fishing on Lake Champlain in Vermont

The WCAT radio tower is near Lake Champlain.

©Ilir Hasa/Shutterstock.com

Burlington, Vermont, is on the eastern shore of Lake Champlain, south of the Canadian border, and is the largest city in Vermont. It’s also home to the state’s largest hospital, UVM Medical Center, which is close to the Decker Towers. This quaint town is surrounded by breathtaking scenery, is home to Vermont’s tallest building and structure, and is the birthplace of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. But the nearby cities also have a lot to offer.   

Winooski is the closest city in Chittenden County on the Winooski River. The small, historic city is known for hosting the Waking Windows music festival, regular farmer’s markets, and the annual day-long French Heritage Day celebration. The walkable town has vintage shops, dog parks, and places to sit or kayak along the river. Other nearby cities include South Burlington, Colchester, and Essex Junction, all providing a unique glimpse into Vermont’s rich history.    

Wildlife Near the WCAT Radio Tower

Male Northern Cardinal on a tree branch.

Northern cardinals are one of the many backyard birds in Burlington, Vermont.

©peter weiler/Shutterstock.com

Vermont’s tallest structure is surrounded by various habitats that native state wildlife call home. 

Burlington, Vermont, features patches of forest that are home to a diverse mammal population. White-tail deer, coyotes, red squirrels, chipmunks, and beavers are common in the area. Bobcat tracks are even spotted from time to time. Other animals that call the Burlington forest home are great horned owls and the rare long-eared owl. What’s more, spotted salamanders and wood frogs are two amphibians found in the city’s clay soil. 

There are also abandoned fields where grassland birds such as the bobolink and the eastern meadowlark nest. Moreover, small rodents, including meadow voles and short-tailed shrews, live in the fields and attract predators like hawks, owls, and coyotes. 

Developed residential areas near the tallest structure in Vermont also provide a habitat for many of these animals. It’s common for residents to find deer, raccoons, and foxes in their yards, searching for food and temporary shelter. Mourning doves, American robins, and northern cardinals are a few of the easiest backyard birds to spot in the city. Whether it’s a front yard or an uninhabited section of the forest, the natural features of Burlington, Vermont, provide various species the land they need to survive. 

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Wirestock/iStock via Getty Images


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About the Author

Mandy Trotti is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on pets and travel. Mandy has been writing professionally for three years and holds a Bachelor's Degree in English Literature from the University of South Florida, which she earned in 2022. A resident of Florida, Mandy enjoys going on walks with her rescue beagle, visiting botanical gardens, and watching the sunset on the beach.

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