100th Anniversary of Marion’s Marconi Installation

Few today realize that Marion was once home to the world’s largest and most powerful wireless telegraph station. Built in 1914 by the pioneering Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company, the Marion installation boasted 14 towers, each standing more than 400 feet tall. The station was designed to handle all trans-Atlantic radio traffic, communicating directly with another high-powered wireless plant in Norway. So impressive was the station at the time of its installation, it was referred to as “one of the wonders of the twentieth century.” This first weekend in October, Calvin Trowbridge, Jr., author of Marconi: Father of Wireless, Grandfather of Radio, Great-Grandfather of the Cell Phone, The Story of the Race to Control Long-Distance Wireless will be in Marion to help Sippican Historical Society and Sippican Lands Trust celebrate the 100th anniversary of Marion’s Marconi installation.

The celebration will take place in two phases. At 7:00 pm on Friday, October 3, Mr. Trowbridge will speak at the Marion Music Hall (164 Front Street) about the Marion facility, the competition and patent wars, and the fast pace of invention and technology change as the potential for radio became understood in the early 20th century. Copies of Trowbridge’s book will be available for purchase, and attendees will have the opportunity to chat with the author after his presentation. The lecture is offered free to the public, and no reservations are required. For more information on Mr. Trowbridge’s lecture, please call SHS Executive Director Kimberly Teves at 508-748-1116 or email info@sippicanhistoricalsociety.org.

In conjunction with Friday’s lecture, the Sippican Lands Trust will host a one-hour guided tour of their “Radio Tower” property on Saturday, October 4, at 11:00 am. The property was acquired by the SLT in 1986 and is the actual site of the once-active Marconi wireless telegraph station. Local resident and Radio Tower steward Richard Evans will lead participants through the trails and remnants of this historic property, and Mr. Trowbridge will be on-hand to offer his insights, as well. Evans is an amateur radio operator and has been interested in this property since he walked through the transmitter building and tower field in early 1950 before the towers were dropped. In case of rain, the tour will be held on Sunday, October 5 at 11:00 am. The tour is also offered free of charge to the public, with no reservations required. The Radio Tower trail is accessible from Benson Brook Road, past the Marion Transfer Station. Parking is available in that area, and participants should gather to the right, near the SLT kiosk at the head of the trail. Property map is available online at http://sippicanlandstrust.org/wp-content/uploads/radiotower.pdf. For more information on the SLT guided tour, please call Executive Director Robin Shields at 508-748-3080 or email robinshields@sippicanlandstrust.org.

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