The Tower of Americas and the Alamodome at Sunset. Photo by Melissa Burnett.
The Tower of Americas and the Alamodome at Sunset. Photo by Melissa Burnett.

No, it wasn’t Sunday’s invasion of the 14,000 zombies in Hemisfair Park. But San Antonio’s tallest structure, the Tower of the Americas, closed Monday for repairs to its electrical system that will be completed Wednesday night.

That means the city’s iconic tower, its observation deck and the Chart House restaurant and bar, should be open for business Thursday, in plenty of time for Halloween and Day of the Dead in the event any zombies are thinking of returning.

An electrical outage blamed on a power line shut down the Tower for most of the weekend on Sept. 5, leaving three people stranded at the top, although there are stairs. A power outage in 2013 left 16 people stuck in an elevator for one hour. Whether it’s perception or reality, the Tower elevators are reputed to be prone to occasional outages that leave claustrophobes wary of a trip to the top of the city where the views are unparalleled.

The exact problem this time?

“The main electrical buss duct failed at two joint locations approximately 90 feet up the Tower shaft,” according to a statement released by the City.  “Temporary repairs have kept the tower open to the public until a permanent repair solution was coordinated.”

An early design for the Tower of the Americas with a flared top and bottom. Image from the exhibit, "Education by Design: Drawings from the Collection of Ford, Powell & Carson, 1939-1970" at Trinity University.
An early design for the Tower of the Americas with a flared top and bottom. Image from the exhibit, “Education by Design: Drawings from the Collection of Ford, Powell & Carson, 1939-1970” at Trinity University.

“Keeping the 750-foot-tall tower safe for visitors and residents is the City’s highest priority,” said Jim Mery, deputy director of the Center City Development and Operations Department. “We are partnering with Landry’s management to ensure the repairs are completed in a timely manner so the attraction can be reopened to the public as quickly as possible.”

The City has an agreement with Landry’s to operate the Tower of the Americas, Chart House Restaurant, cafes within the Tower, the 4D Theater Ride, and the Observation Deck.

Tower lovers and local history and architecture buffs can get a different view of the Tower of Americas by heading to Trinity University for its exhibition, “Education by Design: Drawings from the Collection of Ford, Powell & Carson, 1939-1970.”

The exhibit features works by renowned San Antonio Architect O’Neil Ford and original drawings of the Trinity campus as well as design renditions of the Tower of Americas, which looked much more futuristic in the early renderings, which proved impractical to construct.

*Featured/top image: The Tower of Americas and the Alamodome at Sunset. Photo by Melissa Burnett.

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Robert Rivard

Robert Rivard is co-founder and columnist at the San Antonio Report.