|Last Train To Radio Central|
|RCA's Transmitter facility sprang into existance in the early 1920's on Long Island, New York. The newly formed RCA was an amalgamation of various interests, including General Electric and American Marconi, a subsidiary of British Marconi started by an Italian guy called Marconi, yes, that one.
Radio Centrals main purpose was International communication, with the first transatlantic phone calls broadcast from here to the receiving station in Fife, Scotland in 1921. Being only 70 miles from New York City all the calls were routed to the facility by land lines and then broadcast, with the reciever station being in Riverhead, 15 miles east. The origional plan was to have a huge Transmitting wheel with about 10 spokes, capable of transmitting all over the world. However, only two spokes were ever built as technology advanced and the huge towers became obsolete. But this in itself was still a major build, two rows of loads of 450 foot towers. The photo above is building number one, built in 1920 and designed to resemble a Hollywood mansion, supposedly it had all marble and brass fixtures and a huge globe mural in a two storey entrance hall. The fountains and pond you see in front of it were not only decorative but were part of the cooling system for the transmitter hall. The photo below which is actually an old post card shows the sheer size of the towers. Its not easy to find lots of Information on this place, but what I have found is highly entertaining. I especially like their method of removing sleet from the wires. Pump 1500 volts at 400 amps through them for 10 minutes. Nice one, that should do it.
|History of R.C. Links
1922 article about Radio Central
Page with lots of info and pics of Marconi at R.C.
|below: A 1938 aerial photo of Building 1 and surrounding area. (click to enlarge)
|Radio Central Today|
|Astoundingly the place remains untouched since it ceased operating, unlike the rest of Long Island it isnt covered in new building work, or shops or houses. It remains unspoilt and largely just as RCA left it in the late 70's.although all the buildings have been removed.
Although RCA sold it for just one dollar at the time, they sold it to the right people and for the forseeable future its there for everyone to enjoy and explore. A massive area, it has over 13 miles of mountain bike tracks snaking through the woods past toppled towers, piles of cables, poles and other stuff only experts could identify.
Theres all sorts of stuff I've found that isnt on the 1938 aerials I have, notably the row of downed 165 ft towers to the west. Colour Television was invented here in building 10 (wherever that was) The main road that runs right through and can be seen in the upper left corner of the 1938 pic to the left was origionally called 'Marconi Road' but was renamed 'Rocky point Road' why they renamed it God only knows.Check out the Towers and shadows on the 1938 aerial pics which you will find at the end of my webshots album linked here below, also there is a nice aerial view of the accomodation/country club area they had.
|I've compiled a few waypoints that agree with google earth:
Tuning coil, Tower 2, southwestern spoke:
40' 55'09.6 N 72' 55'53.5 W
165 foot tower:
40'55'18.72 N 72'56'40.74 W
Tower 1, Northwestern Spoke
40'55'27.34 N 72'56'12.01 W
|My Webshots Photos of Radio Central as it is today|