Marconi Wireless Station Site (South Wellfleet, Massachusetts)
Marconi Wireless Station Site
Interpretive display pavilion at the site, 2010
|Location||South Wellfleet, Massachusetts|
|NRHP reference #||75000158|
|Added to NRHP||May 2, 1975|
The Marconi Wireless Station Site in South Wellfleet, Massachusetts is the site of the first transatlantic wireless communication between the United States and Europe, on January 18, 1903. At this location, now in the Cape Cod National Seashore (though no admission is charged if not visiting Marconi Beach), inventor Guglielmo Marconi erected a large antenna array on four 210-foot (64 m) wooden towers, and established a transmitting station powered by kerosene engines that produced the 25,000 volts of electricity needed to send signals to a similar station in Poldhu, Cornwall, United Kingdom. The first transmission received in North America by Marconi was at Signal Hill, St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador in 1901; Glace Bay, Nova Scotia was the site of the first such two-way transmission, in 1902.
One of the station's most notable roles occurred with the sinking of the RMS Titanic in April 1912. Operators at the station were able to alert the RMS Carpathia so that the rescue of some of the Titanic's passengers could be effected. The station was shut down in 1917 in part over concerns about its use in World War I, but also because its towers were threatened with erosion. In 1920, usable materials and equipment were removed from the site, and it was abandoned. Erosion has taken its toll over the years since then, and there was little left as of the date of the National Park Service brochure. No trace of the site remains as of September 2014; the sea has claimed it all.
Marconi had moved the station to Chatham by 1912 and the Titanic and Carpathia communications were done from there. There is debate of whether the Wellfleet station was ever put into commercial operation.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Marconi wireless site in South Wellfleet, Massachusetts.|
- WCC (radio station)
- Marconi station (general list)
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Cape Cod National Seashore
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Barnstable County, Massachusetts
- National Park Service (2008-04-15). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
- "Marconi and the South Wellfleet Wireless". National Park Service. Retrieved 2017-07-08.
- NPT Staff (2013-07-24). "Dune Erosion Forces Demolition Of Marconi Interpretive Kiosk At Cape Cod National Seashore". National Parks Traveler. Retrieved 2016-06-29.
While some artifacts from the original station site remain, most have been lost over time as the shoreline has eroded. Continued shoreline erosion prompted the decision to raze the kiosk, which stood just 32 feet from the edge of the cliff when it was demolished on Tuesday.
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