Long Island's Hidden Past: Marconi Shack

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ROCKY POINT -

In the early 1900s, a magical device was used to communicate across the ocean to ships at sea - and it happened right here on Long Island.

News 12 Long Island's Danielle Campbell and photojournalist Brian Endres tell the story of the Marconi Shack, which was among one of the first radio stations in the world.

The crude, simple shack that sits in front of an elementary school in Rocky Point is a relic of first radio. An invention that could send news and save lives. 

The 116-year-old building was part of a radio station built in 1902 by Italian Guglielmo Marconi in the United States.

Marconi was an inventor and business man. "He realized he could make money by being able to contact ships at sea," says Bob Lundquist.

Lundquist, who worked for RCA in Rocky Point, played a role in saving the radio shack and preserving its ship-to-shore transmission history.

Viginia Road and Fire Island Avenue in Babylon is the original spot where the Marconi Shack was located. The building had a 210-foot antenna and it could communicate to ships 200 miles out to sea.

"Passengers onboard ships would get messages from their friends on shore wishing them bon voyage," says Lundquist.

A few years later, in 1912, Marconi's invention helped save hundreds of lives when the Titanic went down. Marconi's wireless radio guided the rescue ships.

In 1930, the radio shack found a fitting permanent home in Rocky Point, on the grounds that were once RCA's Global transmission site.

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