The Day the Tower Fell

Jun 28, 2011 at 11:46 am by bryan

Three Months of Blessings!

A beautiful sunrise begins to fill the Murfree Spring wetland with a brilliant orange glow. The sounds of birds, ducks and even frogs breaks the silence of the long quiet night. For those who are fortunate enough to have experienced this, it is hard to conceive that thousands of people are rushing through life just beyond the heavy barrier of trees that seems to muffle the noise of the world. This peaceful country setting is just a stones throw from the busiest intersection in the entire state of Tennessee. Since 1946, this natural retreat has also been the home of Rutherford County’s first radio station. If someone could only invent a radio that could capture the stories that have been broadcast through that tower. It all began with WGNS’ first broadcast at 10:00PM on the night of December 31, 1946. Rutherford County’s first station made history and rang-in the New Year of 1947. Over the decades that followed, a sleepy country town of a few thousand persons grew into a bustling city. In fact, Murfreesboro is one of the nation’s fastest growing cities and Rutherford County’s population is nearing a quarter-million! The stories of those changing times were told daily over this truly local radio station. That never ending story continues to unfold today over the Good Neighbor airwaves. However, there is a unique difference now, thousands of visitors each year are able to experience the serenity of Murfree Spring. A boardwalk system takes them through a beautiful wetland area with historical markers created by the Murfreesboro Parks and Recreation Department. And yes, in the center of it all is a new 328-foot WGNS radio tower. It was the hard work and caring spirits of hundreds of community leaders that allowed the community’s Good Neighbor Station to rebuild on its original site. And as the late Paul Harvey said so many times over WGNS, "And now the rest of the story…"

History Became A Memory Within Seconds

image At 7:32AM (Central Time) Easter Sunday morning, April 15, 2001, a severe storm hit Rutherford County. The Straight From The Heart radio broadcast suddenly went silent. Bart called the new technician on duty and asked him to step out the front door and see if the tower lights were "on". That would tell whether the electricity was still working at the transmitter. The response was "yes, the white light on the tower is blinking". Bart replied, "We don’t have a white light. Our tower light is red. WGNS’ tower is the one that’s behind McDonald’s." Bart was on his way downtown when the board op’s voice quivered as he said, "There’s no tower behind the fast-food restaurant!"


In a matter of minutes…one man was killed, trees were toppled, roofs were lifted off of homes and businesses, a section of bleachers in the new Nashville Super Speedway, which opened the day before, was crumpled, and the landmark 328-foot self-supporting WGNS’ radio tower lie crumpled in the wetlands and was only a memory.

The 3-months that followed will forever change the Good Neighbor Station (that’s what the G N S in our call letters stand for). Public reaction created what might be compared to a modern day community barn raising. It has been said that "true wealth is measured in the number of friends who stand by you when trouble strikes". With that in mind, not only is WGNS Talk Radio truly blessed–it is an "immensely wealthy firm". We are wealthy with community support and friendship. Here is our story . . .

The Road To Recovery had many twists, turns and surprises!

WGNS (AM 1450) was back on the air within 18-hours using a temporary antenna. A 330-foot wire was strung between two Murfreesboro Electric utility poles alongside the levee driveway leading to the radio tower. On Tuesday, April 17, 2001, only two days after the tower fell, the Murfreesboro City Codes Department notified WGNS that since our tower was more than 75 per cent destroyed, our "grandfather status" of having a 328-foot structure in the Murfree Spring wetlands was no longer valid. In order for the radio station to rebuild, we would have to appear before the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) and get:

1. A height variance (zoning allows only a 75-foot tower…we needed a 253-foot waiver in order to rebuild the 328-foot self-supporting tower)

2.  A waiver of "land use"

The First 45-Days

The first 45-days were filled with getting earth core drillings completed and placing the data onto city codes’ forms. There always seemed to be another form to complete and another inspection before the next phase could begin. In looking back, this gave much needed time to analyze each step and make the project better.

Perhaps this period of time when the community listened to 1450 daily and heard of the progress, that cemented the bond even more between WGNS and the public. It truly became their radio station! Bart would tell those who tuned-in how work with the City of Murfreesboro, Federal Communications Commission and Federal Aviation Administration were proceeding. When there were bumps in the road, listeners felt them to as Good Neighbors.

Bart recalls how the Public Hearing became a Parade of Blessings

On Friday, May 18, 2001, WGNS appeared before the Board of Zoning Appeals. Bart watched in awe as over a hundred citizens packed the City Council Chambers. At that time, it was not known whether this crowd was there to speak "for" or "against" rebuilding the radio tower. Oh–so you won’t be left "hanging"…only 1 person spoke against the tower.

He noted that the unknown is frightening. ?As I walked into the city council chambers, I had no idea who or how many people would be for or against WGNS rebuilding its tower. I was surprised to find a full room of people.”

Walker remembered, ?As the meeting progressed, I was emotionally moved to hear the testimonials in support of WGNS. YOU are truly the Good Neighbors. Words can not express how much YOUR support has meant during this trying time.?

A special thank you to the Children’s Discovery House board, Murfreesboro Police Department, Rutherford County Sheriffs Office, Rutherford Emergency Management and the Heart of Tennessee Chapter of the Red Cross for filing written requests with the city asking them to approve WGNS being returned to "full coverage" with a 328-foot tower.

I want to publicly express my sincere appreciation to the following persons who took their time to speak on behalf of WGNS before the Board of Zoning Appeals on Friday, May 18, 2001: (listed in order of their presentation to the BZA) Myrtle G. Lord, Dr. Al Moffett, Madeline Methvin (Red Cross), former Murfreesboro Mayor Joe B. Jackson, Murfreesboro Police Commissioner Bill Jones, Leamon Flatt (minister of Bellwood Church of Christ), Rutherford County Sheriff Truman Jones, State Representative John Hood, Doron Claiborne, Hampton Turner, Ray McClanahan, Tony Snook, George Gardner and Wayne Walls. When the requests were approved, everyone in the council chamber stood an applauded. That even included the one person who spoke against the request. That man later told me, ?The city never game me a waiver, and I was against anyone else getting one.? As the out-of-town business superintendent left, he looked back and said, ?I?m glad you got the waiver.?

As required by law, the hearing was transmitted over the city’s cable access channel 3. At the end of the hearing, TV viewers overheard personal comments from BZA members. The somber silence was broken with thunderous applause when approval was granted. Perhaps it was the excitement of the moment, but the BZA members began to applaud too. Thinking their microphones were turned-off, one board member turned to the BZA chairman sitting beside him and said, "Can you believe this, we’re applauding too." The chairman chuckled and replied, "I’ll be able to clearly hear Braves baseball again."

Was It Divine Intervention?

For a moment, let’s step back to around 7:30 that Easter morning in 2001. As Bart drove past the Jackson Heights Shopping Center, he could clearly see the tower was gone. A few minutes later, he was at the site and standing before a pile of twisted steel.

Once he gained composure, he called his longtime friend and mentor Bill Barry. Despite the fact that it was early on this special religious day, Barry dropped everything and rushed to Murfreesboro. Their friendship goes back to when Bill Barry gave Bart his first job in radio. That was some 40-plus years earlier during the summer before when Bart started high school.

imageDuring the months that followed, Bill Barry helped with the technical plans throughout the tower re-construction period. More community leaders stepped forward to help WGNS in this crucial phase of the project. Suddenly, several of Rutherford County’s strongest business leaders offered their expertise. Charlie and Fred Farrer were the first to step-up. (above photo L-R: Bill Barry and Fred Farrer) Local contractor Fred Farrer took WGNS under his wings and suggested ways to build a stronger foundation for the tower. Mr. Farrer’s guidance enabled the tower to be rebuilt closer within its amount of insurance coverage. When told we needed a 300-ton crane, someone suggested Elliott Crane Service. Instead of sending staff members, the firm’s owner Bud Elliott personally brought his crew to the tower site. In fact, Mr. Elliott, who had several major construction projects over the Southeast, became so involved that he spent several hours daily giving guidance to his crew. Jim Coleman, owner of Southern Broadcast Services, was another person who made the rebuilding a success. Bill Barry, Charlie and Fred Farrer, Bud Elliott and Jim Coleman are the lifelines that helped Bart through those tumultuous three-months.

image (Left Photo) Jim Coleman (second from left with light green shirt) and his tower crew were true professionals. Jim is a broadcast engineer who knows the technical side of radio in addition to the skills needed for tower construction. The WGNS? tower fell a few weeks before the annual National Association of Broadcasters? convention. Bart said, ?I had not planned to attend this massive event of 100,000+ persons. However, it had every major tower firm represented. I had never built a tower before, and this was an opportunity to see which firms were comfortable to work with and learn about their product. I also learned about many tower crews. Jim Coleman?s name kept coming up. I now know why. The Southern Broadcast Services’ crew was always helpful, courteous and hard working.?

image WGNS is a true family business. Scott Walker (pictured here with blue shirt) was on-the-job almost every waking hour during the 3-month rebuilding period. His help was and continues to be very much a part of the spirit that grows stronger daily at the Good Neighbor Station. Scott is now in charge of the day-to-day operations at WGNS…including sales, local news, television and internet services. To say ?he makes a dad proud? would be putting it mildly. He never seemed to have an interest in broadcasting while in high school. However, it must have been sinking-in bit-by-bit without either of us knowing.

Since Scott now has hands-on experience with the construction side of broadcasting, I think he is prepared to tackle unexpected challenges that life might dish-out. You never know when or if this will ever happen again, but the secret is to have a plan in effect that will link you with trustworthy professionals who can guide you through the troubled waters. We had that guidance starting with city officials, local contractors, tower manufacturers and specialists in broadcast construction?plus, plenty of support from friends and listeners.

Local Community Leaders Helped Rescue The Good Neighbor Station

That’s Bud Elliott wearing the black shirt on right side of this photo. This is one of Bud’s smaller cranes coming down the driveway. It was used to lift the fallen tower out of the swamp. If you think that’s a big crane, you should have seen the 300-ton giant that rolled-in to lift the tower’s sections into place. The causeway that goes through the wetlands had to be re-enforced with large rock and then compacted before that phase of the construction began. Bud Elliott is another Good Neighbor who personally oversaw the "lifting portion" of this project. The entire three-month process reminded me of an "old fashioned barn raising". Owners of some of the largest local businesses in the area, personally oversaw this job. In reality, this was a small project when compared to constructing a massive office complex. But the community’s Good Neighbor needed help, and local leaders stepped forward. We really did experience three months of blessings.

True Friends

I am grateful for friends like Bill Barry (WAMB radio in Nashville), who gave me my first job in radio when I was 14 years old, and continues to be a friend and mentor today. He dropped everything on Easter morning and rushed to Murfreesboro. Bill Barry gave me guidance throughout this entire period. WGNS’ Engineer Gary Brown is another "Good Neighbor" For the 3-month period when PiROD was designing and manufacturing the new tower, Gary worked his "magic" to keep the station on-the-air with very close to full-power. A 300-foot long-wire antenna that was 30-feet in the air and alongside the levy type driveway kept WGNS on the air. Good Neighbors like them are the heroes who turned a nightmare into a period of celebration. It was encouragement from listeners, advertisers who stood strong beside us, and community leaders who helped us through this maze, who made this three-month period of time overflow with blessings!

Engineer Gary Brown constantly checked the new foundation to make certain that the ground system was still secure to the new copper 6-inch strap that surrounded the underground section of this new concrete tower base. Gary and Bart are friends who have worked together since the 1970’s. Gary is another one of those Good Neighbors.

Our special thanks to Rick Templeton with the City of Murfreesboro for keeping the water level DOWN at the tower site. Beavers were busing building dams, and the water-flow from Murfree Spring would begin to fill the wetlands. Rick’s crew opened the spillway twice weekly to keep the land dry so that tower construction could be completed.

The massive foundation that was constructed by Farrer Brothers Excavating included over 100-yards of concrete, much rebar and this anchored it all to the solid rock that is found throughout the county. This gave a firm foundation to the 32-stories of solid steel towering over the ‘Boro! Farrer Construction completed the foundation on which the new WGNS tower was placed. Special thanks to Fred Farrer for taking a personal interest in this project and seeing that the foundation was completed quickly and with image extreme strength. Geosciences Design Group, LLC (GDG) from Nashville did the earth core drillings. With the use of a sonic pulse meter GDG was able to test the strength of the four existing pillars. John Carpenter along with the GDG engineers designed the massive new foundation on which the 37,000 pound Pi ROD tower was constructed. In addition to the concrete/rebar foundation, the tower base is also anchored to the solid rock that is four-feet below the earth’s surface. This tower is definitely "built on a firm foundation". The massive solid steel PiROD tower is UP!

Southern Broadcast Services, Jim Coleman’s Birmingham based tower construction firm, erected the massive 328-foot self-supporting tower! Jim’s crew really knew broadcast engineering. You couldn’t have found more pleasant team of professionals to work with either.

Seven Sensational Days

image The new PiRod 328-foot self-supporting tower was manufactured and then shipped to Murfreesboro on a large tractor-trailer rig. (Left photo) Each section was laid-out  and assembled on the "parking pad" in front of the WGNS’ transmitter building. Once everything had arrived and was in place, it took only a week to wrap-up the job. We refer to those as the SEVEN SENSATIONAL DAYS. Bud Elliot’s smaller crane was replaced with a giant 300-ton unit. It had a 200-foot boom. This monster had six huge double-wheels on each side. Once in place, hydraulic lifts lowered leveling arms to secure the crane on the parking pad in front of WGNS’ small transmitter building. With the exception of the levee-type driveway that leads to the tower, the entire area is surrounded by water. As you know, water is a great conductor of electricity. A broadcast tower in that type of environment makes the station’s signal go even farther. The crew put the first 175-feet of tower together in 40-foot sections. In fact, that’s the segment that is in place to the left of the transmitter building (see left photo). The giant 300-ton crane, with its 200-foot boom fully-extended, begins to lift the final top 153-foot section into place (photo below). It took a week to put all of the sections together. Once the "monster crane" arrived, it took only 4-hours to lift all of the sections into place. That was a sight to see. In fact, people all over the downtown area watched as the Good Neighbor Station came back together again.

Bud’s massive 300-ton all terrain crane lifts the final 153-foot section of PiRod tower into place. It was now Friday, July 13, image 2001, and a few blocks away Uncle Dave Macon Days was attracting thousands of persons to Cannonsburgh. Lifting that final section of tower into place created more conversation than the show on the stage. Especially when they saw a man riding-up inside the final huge section (see left photo). That’s a person inside the section being lifted by the crane. You can also see two more men on the top of the tower that is already in-place.  This team will work together and guide the top section into the locking guides of the tower that is installed.  Once in place, this new tower becomes Murfreesboro’s tallest structure (over 32-stories)!

This would not have been possible without the local advertisers who stayed on WGNS and gave encouragement during this trying period. By saying, we’ve been blessed, is really putting it mildly. The advertisers and our listeners all stood beside us. In fact, the number of listeners increased! Again–this created a sense of WGNS ownership by the listeners. As a result, we all celebrated together when the new tower was completed on July 14, 2001. That was the day before my birthday, and the friendships made with this experience were gifts that I will cherish all of my life. Watt Hairston, WSM’s chief engineer, is another person who shouted praises about the Birmingham based tower construction firm. This team of caring professionals turned a catastrophic event into a blessing! And Watt was another good neighbor. He is a perfectionist! When the tower was up and connected, Watt fine-tuned the system for a perfect match between the tower and Nautel solid-state transmitter. This not only assured greater coverage for WGNS Talk Radio, it also has dramatically improved the audio quality. Tune to AM 1450 and see if you don’t agree.

The fine-tuning of the new tower to our Nautel transmitter was completed on Saturday, July 14, 2001. At 3:00pm WGNS was back at full-coverage. The new Kintronic’s antenna greatly improved WGNS’ signal strength, loudness as well as clearness of sound. That means you’ll hear the "Good Neighbor Station" clearer, louder and farther away! Listeners phoned, sent e-mail and wrote with "reception reports" showing dramatic improvements from the old tower.

TV Channel 11 Much Clearer!

A newly designed TV-11 Scala antenna was installed on the tower. There is a dramatic improvement in the channel 11  TV coverage! People in Shelbyville and Lewisburg have called to report a clear signal from TV-11. Now the TV station is digital and even clearer. Plus, the Good Neighbor has also expanded to FM and worldwide internet streaming at

E-mail and let us know if the radio and TV signals are better at your place:

Special thanks to Joe Sneed, owner of Joe’s Body Shop, for allowing the cranes, dump trucks, concrete trucks and other heavy equipment to travel through his business. Joe was inconvenienced over the 3-month preparation and construction period. He always smiled and said, "That’s what neighbors are for." All of us at WGNS thank Joe Sneed.

How tall is 328-feet? It is 32-stories of steel towering over Murfreesboro. That would be the equivalent of stacking two downtown Murfreesboro NHC City Centers on top of each other and then adding two more floors! It is even taller than Nashville’s largest building (AT&T’s BAT building). Above photo: The WGNS? News Cruiser at the station?s tower site. You can see the boardwalk system to the right of this picture. Thousands of persons walk past and learn about WGNS each year.

Thank You Celebration

And like the Egyptian legend of the Phoenix bird that rises from its own ashes invigorated with a youthful freshness, your Good Neighbor Station is back with a reaffirmed and stronger commitment to better serve our community. THANK YOU!

image On Saturday, August 25, 2001, a steady flow of listeners gathered under the shadow of the new tower for a Community Tower Celebration Party. In the brief 2-hours between 10:00am and noon, more than a thousand listeners joined-together for fun and true fellowship. It was a hot Tennessee day, and WGNS gave out hand-fans with a cartoon of a giant cloud huffing and puffing, but not having any affect on the new super-strong tower. Large safety-lid drinking glasses with similar illustrations were also handed-out to the crowd. Listeners attending the party share their stories of how the tower being down impacted them. Believe it or not, the two big areas of enthusiasm were being able to clearly hear Swap’n Shop again each morning and going to the Braves Baseball games with the Good Neighbor Station. There was much conversation about how much louder, clearer and stronger the WGNS’ signal was. At the beginning of this page, we identified this as a 3-month Parade of Blessings. Hearing the comments from the crowd of good neighbors was a true blessing.


Money Machine Enjoyed By All

image One of the popular attractions at the Tower Celebration was the Alexander Ford "money machine" (Photo right).  Many WGNS’ listeners walked away with pockets full of cash. They kept the cash grabbed in the air within one-minute and forty-five seconds (get it…WGNS is 1450 on the dial). This is an example of how other local businesses jumped-in to help WGNS in our time of need. Don Alexander and his staff at Alexander Ford have been long-time WGNS friends. Their encouragement and support during the three-month rebuilding period helped us through what could have been dark days. Instead, they were challenges that gave new opportunities! In fact, all of our regular advertisers continued with WGNS during this three-month period. And when we needed support at the city’s zoning appeals board meeting, it was announced on the radio and there was standing room only in the council chambers. Listeners greatly increased during this challenged time. And the audience size has continued to explode in the years following the challenges brought-on by Easter, 2001.

A Truly Blessed Celebration

image Church of Christ preacher and long-time WGNS supporter Leamon Flatt started the Tower Celebration with a prayer. That was not the only time prayers were given for the new tower. The day after the job was finished, Rev. Eric Laverentz, Associate Minister of First Presbyterian Church, gave a private blessing of the tower. He asked that it be used to open new lines of communications between people in this community, help citizens to work harmoniously toward the same goals and serve as a voice of encouragement when life gets rough. Later, State Representative John Hood joined us in this "live" broadcast. Special thanks to everyone at the Bi Lo Grocery on Memorial Boulevard for giving away ice cream, soft drinks, water as well as a DVD player and color TV that were won by lucky WGNS listeners. There were many leaders in the community who took time to help the "Good Neighbor Station" celebrate the new tower. (Left Photo) Community leaders Myrtle Glanton Lord and Bill Rowland participated in the fun. In fact, as you looked around the celebration, you saw large numbers of people described as the who’s who of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County.

Fun, Games, Prizes and Food!

image A "Moonwalk Clown-house" from Stewart’s Party Rentals was a popular site for the younger set. Here a young WGNS listener peers out at the crowd. You can see the McDonald’s sign in the background. Special "thanks" to McDonald’s on Broad for allowing us to have this event in their parking lot, which is adjacent to the new 328-foot WGNS tower.

WGNS’ listeners represent a wide span of ages. One thing all of our Talk Radio listeners have in common is that "they are involved in the community". They are the "movers and shakers" in each of their demographic groups. It was the strong outpouring of both local residents and community leaders that allowed the voice of the Good Neighbor Station to come back to the Heart of Tennessee even stronger than ever before.

WGNS History In Sound

image My wife, Lee Ann Walker, stands beside the "sound history of WGNS". This is a part of the historic signage created by the Murfreesboro Parks and Recreation Department. Push the "red" button and you’ll hear John Hood live from Sewart Air Force Base, Bill Barry doing a big band radio show on WGNS in the late 40s, part of a war time newscast, and Bart Walker anchoring special emergency coverage of the tornado that destroyed hundreds of Murfreesboro homes in January, 1991. WGNS is a mirror of what happens in our community, and this special historical plaque (located on the front of the radio station’s transmitter building) lets you hear the Good Neighbor Station over the years. And as you enjoy the boardwalk system, there are numerous other historic markers that give the history of the area.

Good Neighbor Station Continues To Grow

On March 1, 2007, WGNS added FM 100.5 and FM 101.9. The Federal Communications Commission gave special authority to WGNS that allowed the AM radio station to rebroadcast its programs over FM translators. This is something Bart worked on for almost a decade. WGNS was the first AM station to come on-the-air with this special expansion into the FM band. The day after WGNS began, a station in Rock Hill, S.C. became the second AM broadcaster.

The Good Neighbor Network is now found on the FM band, AM, over-the-air digital TV 11 and worldwide on the internet at .  Plus, another bonus of the website, listeners are able to interact on news stories and community events.

WGNS has been first in many areas of service. WGNS was Rutherford County’s first radio station (1947). It was the first station to go C-Quam AM stereo in November, 1984. WGNS continues to use the latest technology to better the Heart of Tennessee with a never ending series of FIRSTS!

Downtown From The Top

image Middle Tennessee Two-Way’s owner John Hettish gets a bird’s eye view from atop WGNS’ 328-foot tower that overlooks Murfreesboro, Tennessee. John’s firm does an excellent job of keeping the day and night strobes working properly on the tallest structure in Murfreesboro. They also do antenna maintenance and tower inspection to keep the WGNS’ signal at its peak. (Left photo) John took this photo from the 328-foot level of the WGNSÂ’ tower. It gives an interesting perspective of the historic downtown business district. Since WGNS came-on-the-air in 1947, our tower is only about four blocks from the town square. Murfreesboro actually grew-up around the WGNSÂ’ tower. This helps us to equally spread a strong signal over one of the top 25 fastest growing cities in the nation with a population over 100,000 persons.

The Boardwalk Winds Thru Swamp

MVC-217S This is part of the boardwalk system that officially opened May 17, 2003. WGNS’ Bart Walker served as emcee of the ceremonies. They were broadcast "live" over the Good Neighbor Station. (Photo left) The boardwalk through wetlands lets the public walk beside the tall tower that many say is a landmark that helps them find their way in Murfreesboro. The white line you see in this photo is the actual boardwalk that is about 4-feet above the wetlands. You can see a reddish line on each side of the boardwalk. That is the metal safety bars the line the entire boardwalk. This keeps you from falling into the water. As you walk along this elevated path, you watch beaver, ducks, geese and all types of wildlife. Mosquitoes were a major problem until the Parks and Recreation Department installed large bat houses throughout the area. The bats do a great job of eating the pesky mosquitoes.

The Guy Who Maintains The Tower

image John Hettish not only maintains the WGNS’ tower, he also played a vital part in the construction of the new self-supporting structure. John is a grandfather, scuba diver, photographer, outdoorsman, world traveler, etc. John and his staff at Middle Tennessee 2-Way look for ways to help others. He too is a Good Neighbor! By the way, that guy you see (Photo Left) is John Hettish. And yes, he is enjoying the view from atop the WGNS 328-tower. The Murfree Spring boardwalk system goes past the radio station’s 328-foot self-supporting tower. Here you can see some of the elevated walkway that allows the public to view nature in this massive wetland that is located in the heart of our city’s business district.

The Tower Today

MVC-229S The WGNS tower site looks quite a bit different these days. The massive new 328-foot self-supporting PiRod tower is built on a solid foundation that is bordered with an 8-foot fence. A 3-foot section of barbed-wire is on top of that section, bringing the fence height to 11-feet. Left photo gives unique view from the top of the 328-foot tower. The "Y" shape in the photo is the Murfreesboro Parks and Recreation Department’s boardwalk system. The bright green square is the roof of the WGNS’ transmitter building. The boardwalk goes to the beautiful new Discovery Center at Murfree Spring. Forecasts call for 75,000 persons to pass by the Good Neighbor tower each year. The wetlands is full of lush and beautiful growth during the Spring and Summer months.

If you are on the top of the WGNS radio tower, you look across the Murfree Spring Wetland and see the boardwalk system that goes around the tower and connects with the Discovery Center. The area is beautiful in every season. In the Fall when the leaves have blown from most trees, the Murfree Spring wetlands is still a beautiful sight to behold. Take a stroll past the Good Neighbor tower and experience natural beauty, mother nature, and a part of the Heart of Tennessee that has been hidden from the public for centuries.  The public is encouraged to enjoy the boardwalk system. There is NO ADMISSION fee. Park at the Discovery Center at Murfree Spring (502 S.E. Broad Street at Maney Avenue).

Murfreesboro’s Historical Time Line On Outside Wall

And along the water pools outside the Discovery Center at Murfree Spring, you will find a 150-foot Murfreesboro History Wall. Sculptured art on this wall gives a timeline of Murfreesboro’s history. Toward the far right of the wall, the story of Rutherford County’s first radio station is shown. WGNS rang-in the New Year of 1947. The station began broadcasting at 10:00PM on the night of December 31, 1946. By the way, Swap’n Shop was a part of the first week of programs on the station. It is still a very popular weekday broadcast. Thanks to Congressman Bart Gordon, Army Corps of Engineers, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and the Murfreesboro Parks and Recreation Department…we can now all enjoy this wonderful area!

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