From 1927 to the early 1940's KGA transmitted from Spokane's northside where Lidgerwood Elementary School is located. After KGA moved its transmitter to the Moran Prairie, the Lidgerwood Improvement Club acquired the building, and later donated it to the Spokane School District. According to a write-up in "First Class for 100 Years", the transmitter building served as a central service facility for two three-classroom wings. This design also permitted construction of additional classrooms to be served by the central plant. The school was formally dedicated on 19 November 1953. In 2005, construction of a new school building began with the demolition of the old school including KGA's original brick structure. Staff at the school told me that some bricks will be salvaged as souvenirs and some of them may be recycled in the construction of the new building. By August 2006, the construction of the new school building was complete and nothing remains of the old transmitter building.
DETAILS OF TRANSMITTER FACILITY
According to KGA's first station license application, the transmitter was composite transmitter rated at 20,000 watts. The antenna was a "T" made up of a 1/4 inch diameter wire, which was strung between two 225 foot high towers. The horizontal length of the radiator was 100 feet and the vertical part was 225 feet. The 225-foot figure is suspect because the wire sagged in the middle. The ground connection was listed as 5 feet long.
Later on, the T antenna was taken down and they used one tower as a radiator.
The following are photos taken of this site. Numbers 2, 3 and 9 were taken in June 2005 just before the construction began. Numbers 5 to 8 are fuzzy copies of photos taken from the notes used in the making of Partlow and Jorgenson's Early Broadcasting in Spokane. In their notes, Partlow and Jorgenson labeled pictures as being from the KGA's Lidgerwood Transmitter Site. At least three of the photos are marked with KGA on them, but there is a slight possibility that they could have come from KGA's first Moran Prairie site, so confirmation is needed. Any new information or original photos, instead of copies, would help to confirm the identification location of the pictures or the types of equipment shown. If you can help, please contact me at wharms@!philcobill.com (remove the "!" before sending.)
1) Picture taken in 1933 of the transmitter building and towers. If you look closely, you can see a wire strung between the two towers, which would have been used as the radiator. (Courtesy of the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture/Eastern Washington State Historical Society, Spokane, Washington.)
2) KGA housed its transmitter in this brick building. The school's boiler room which was added later is pictured to the left. Compare the details of the windows and the trim in this photo with the photo immediately above. (philcobill.com)
3) This is a part of the exterior of the building as viewed from a boiler room which was added on after the school was built. You can see a former window to the building which was blocked off. It is the flat portion in the middle of the brick wall. The bricks had been painted white. (philcobill.com)
4) This is a clip taken from a QSL card. It shows a sketch of the antenna located at the site.
5) The Transmitter - photo by Ryder Chronic about 1940. "KGA" was annotated at the bottom of the photo.
6) The Frequency Monitor - photo by Ryder Chronic about 1940. "KGA" was annotated at the bottom of the photo.
7) Audio Equipment - photo by Ryder Chronic about 1940. "KGA" was annotated at the bottom of the photo.
8) Transmitting Tower - photo by Ryder Chronic about 1940
9) Another view of the former exterior of the building. Ignore the ugly guy.
Compiled and edited by Bill Harms - updated 17 July 2005
- "Construction Update Newsletter: For the Lidgerwood School Community." April 2005. From www.spokaneschools.org.
- "First Class for 100 Years: Spokane Public Schools, School District 81, 1889-1989."
- Partlow and Jorgenson. Notes for "Early Days of Spokane Radio, 1981." Used by permission of Dean Carriveau, Spokane, Washington
KGA 1470 - 1927 to 1940's
Rowan and Lidgerwood