THE 1902 MARCONI
from: “In The
Shadow of the Radio Towers by N. Stiefel))
Station at Babylon
Note: House was
also used as school and station,
as well as the small
building shown at right
The 1902 Marconi
“Radio Shack” building originally operated in Babylon in 1902.
It was moved to
the RCA Radio Central Transmitting Station in 1930.
During the first week of August in 1902 a notice was
printed announcing the Jacobs cottage on Fire Island Avenue in Babylon was leased for five years from
August 1st to the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company of the United States The house also served as a station
and training school. The Babylon Signal of September 13,
reported “The Marconi Wireless Station is now in thorough working order. On
the main floor is the office and generating room. On the second floor is
where the messages are transmitted and received.
Note: the sign on Fire Island Avenue states: “This is the site of
the birth of the American wireless a
pioneer station here in 1901 first talked with ships at sea. Note:
Marconi had earlier stations in the United States and the Babylon Station was leased
in 1902 for five years.
The first Marconi land station in the United States was erected at Navesink
Lighthouse, near Sandy Hook, New York Harbour mouth in September 1890,
for reporting the American Cup Yacht Races. The next Marconi land station in
the United States was erected in August, 1901 at
July 1902, another coast station was erected at Sagaponack, Long Island,
Babylon followed in September of 1902. Later, Marconi also established a
station at Seagate in Brooklyn.
TRANSFER OF OWNERSHIP TO EDWIN H.
ARMSTRONG IN 1930
This photo from the David Sarnoff Library,
depicts the actual move of the Marconi Wireless building from Babylon to Rocky Point in 1930.
As early as 1929 radio pioneer, Edwin H. Armstrong, summered in Bayport at the H. H. Seaman’s cottage
on the bay at the foot of Suydam Lane.
He visited his Army friend, Captain Round, who worked for Marconi in Babylon. Captain Round was associated with
the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company, as third assistant Technical Officer,
in his early pioneer work at the Babylon station. He attested to the
authenticity of the building. It was in
1930 when Armstrong purchased the little wireless building from the farmer.
Documentation of purchase: Newspaper article of November
states “unique real estate deal made by Sayville real estate agency in purchase of
radio plant used by Marconi. Mrs. George A. Robinson buys for Bayport summer
resident, Edwin Armstrong.” New York Times of November 9th reported: “A deserted shack, which
for years stood neglected near Babylon, had suddenly gained fame used by
Guglielmo Marconi.” Note:
incorrect statement in article that it was first station.
TRANSFER OF OWNERSHIP TO RCA IN 1930
Edwin Armstrong officially gave the building to the
RCA Transmitting Station in Rocky Point. Formal acceptance of the gift was made
by David Sarnoff, President of RCA. The “radio shack” stood in front of RCA’s
Building #1 for many years and was later stored in the Robinson Barn on Route
25A. The little radio shack started to deteriorate so badly, that it could not
be moved to the RCA Exhibition at the 1939 World’s Fair. It survived two fires
while stored inside the barn.
Guglielmo Marconi and David Sarnoff, President of RCA,
standing beside the
Marconi building when it stood in
front of RCA’s Bldg. #1,
during Marconi’s visit to Rocky Point in 1933.
TRANSFER OF OWNERSHIP TO ROCKY P OINT SCHOOL DISTRICT #9
Due to the use of Satellite communication, RCA was
planning to close their transmitting facilities at Rocky Point. A letter of May
from RCA Station Engineer, Robert T. Lundquist, documents the transfer of
ownership of the Marconi building from RCA Radio Central to the Rocky Point Union Free School District #9. RCA Manager, Robert Lundquist,
presented it to the Rocky Point School. At this time, at the suggestion
of Mr. Frank J. Carasiti and Mr. Robert Lundquist, the building was moved from
the Robinson Barn across the street to the Joseph A. Edgar School.
RESTORATION OF THE BUILDING
At the time before the building was moved from the
Robinson Barn across the street to the Joseph A. Edgar School property, the building was badly
deteriorated, as shown in above photo. It was so weakened by deterioration that
some of the floor needed repair before it could be moved across the road. The Vincent P. Sons of Italy Lodge supplied funds for
materials and Rosario Aurucci (left) volunteered the labor to repair the badly
deteriorated boards and floor.
with Frank J. Carasiti and Rosario Aurucci at the
in front of the Joseph A. Edgar School
Condition of building
In 1989 the little building was moved to a new
location, when a crane lifted it and carried it to the grounds of the Vincent
P. Landi Sons of Italy Lodge. The property was later occupied by Majestic
Gardens. Anthony Bongiovanni, who was President of the
Lodge at the time, commented that the Sons of Italy contracted further
restoration work of the building, including new shingles. The moving of the
building was made possible by Bill Skinner of The Barnyard in Middle
On September 14, 1994 the Marconi building was
destined for another move to a new home.
Spectators along 25A witnessed a “piece of history” moving down the main
road. The building was moved from the
former Sons of Italy site to the Frank
J. Carasiti Elementary
School on Rocky
Point-Yaphank Road. The school property was formerly owned by the
Radio Corporation of America,
the world’s largest wireless transmitting station. One month prior to the move, a concrete
foundation was carefully made in front of the school. Supplies were provided by Dominic Pirraglia
of D & F Mason and Landscaping of Rocky Point. Labor was paid by Anthony Bongiovanni of
Rocky Point Jewelers. Early on that
Wednesday morning, a volunteer team moved the historic building. Volunteers consisted of Bill Skinner and his
assistant, Ricky Kiely of The Barnyard, Middle
Island; Kenneth Monz of Creative
Concrete; Rocky Point; Dominick Pirraglia and Ben Pelosi of D & F Mason
The Rocky Point Historical Society has been working
very closely, along with the Rocky Point School District #9, as the caretakers of the
historic Marconi building,
In October of 2005 the Rocky Point Historical Society
voted to appropriate $1,500. for materials to restore
the Marconi “radio building”. In the summer and autumn of 2006 restoration of damaged
oak boards, as well as interior and exterior painting was completed. This included
oak boards to duplicate original ones, as well as nails from the 1902-1905 time
frame. Volunteers, led by President Kenny Blinn of the
Rocky Point Historical Society included
Ken Blinn, Jr., Mariana Freeman, John Galietti, Natalie Aurucci-Stiefel and
Bruce Stiefel of the Historical Society; Neil Heft and Dick Pan of the Radio
Central Amateur Radio Club; and, Joe Padovan of the Vincent P. Landi Sons of
The Rocky Point Historical Society received a Suffolk County Grant to continue restoration of windows
and roof of the Marconi building.
Letter from Marchesa Marconi
In 1972, Guglielmo Marconi’s widow, Marchesa Maria
Cristina Marconi, sent a hand-written letter to Rosario Aurucci of Rocky Point
who repaired the badly deteriorated Marconi building. The letter indicated that
Marconi considered the building a “precious relic”.
January 15, 1972 - Rome, Italy
Dear. Mr. Rosario Aurucci,
I received your gracious and important letter of
January 3rd as regards to the Guglielmo
Marconi wireless transmitting office.
I well remember having visited it.
It is a precious relic because
Guglielmo Marconi considered it to be one of the early radio stations that he
erected and used in the United States. I am very grateful and thankful
to you for having kept this very important building alive and cherished and I
am truly moved as well as pleased to be informed abut this dear memory. Thanking you for how much you have done and
will do for my dear husband, I offer you my sincere and affectionate greetings
and those of my daughter, Electra, for the coming New Year.
Maria Cristina Marconi
ACTIVITIES AT THE HISTORIC RADIO BUILDING
In 1987 the Rocky Point School Eric Trojahn Memorial
Amateur Radio Club, under the direction of Henry Bookout, operated the first
wireless transmission from the building since the days when Marconi worked the
building when the century was young. Mr.
Bookout, teacher, was
responsible for forming a student Amateur Radio Club at the Rocky Point School.
Each year the Members of Radio Central Amateur Radio
Club transmit and receive national and international messages from the little
Marconi wireless building, which is located in front of the Frank J. Carasiti School in Rocky Point. They operate at
the Marconi Radio Shack on the weekend closest to Guglielmo Marconi’s birthday
of March 25th which is known as “International Marconi Day”, as well as on the
weekend closest to November 5th, which is the anniversary of the
opening of the RCA Radio Central Transmitting Station in Rocky Point.
During the Spring of 2007 the Radio Central Amateur
Radio Club hosted three days of radio history tours and Morse code demonstrations for
the students of the Frank J. Carasiti School of the Marconi Building, with the suggestion of Elementary
School teacher, David Falcone.
The Long Island Wireless Historical Society has placed
several archival photographs inside the building. These were recently
permanently framed by the Radio Central ARC.
The Rocky Point Historical Society continues to place
historic displays at the four schools in Rocky Point. A tribute to Guglielmo Marconi on the
anniversary of his 130th birthday was made by an exhibit at the local schools.
Each year Boy Scout Troup #244 and amateur radio
operators train and transmit messages from the building on Scouts Jamboree On The Air Day.