Long Island's Hidden Past: Marconi Shack

Posted: Updated:
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.

  • SlideshowsSlideshowsMore>>

  • Sights and scenes from the 2018 Oyster Fest

    Sights and scenes from the 2018 Oyster Fest

    Monday, October 15 2018 10:02 AM EDT2018-10-15 14:02:36 GMT

    Sights and scenes from the 2018 Oyster Fest in Oyster Bay on Oct. 13, 2018.

    Sights and scenes from the 2018 Oyster Fest in Oyster Bay on Oct. 13, 2018.

  • Just Married on Long Island

    Just Married on Long Island

    News 12 Long Island wants to announce your wedding. Share your pictures and videos with News 12 Long Island viewers!

    News 12 Long Island wants to announce your wedding. Share your pictures and videos with News 12 Long Island viewers!

  • Dog Day Fridays for October 12

    Dog Day Fridays for October 12

    Friday, October 12 2018 6:38 AM EDT2018-10-12 10:38:40 GMT
    Monkey is approximately 2 years old. He a super sweet, loving timid dog and would be best as an only dog. He was found on the side of a road and unable to move due to a broken pelvis. He was starving and had lost much of his hair.Monkey is approximately 2 years old. He a super sweet, loving timid dog and would be best as an only dog. He was found on the side of a road and unable to move due to a broken pelvis. He was starving and had lost much of his hair.

    This week's dogs are up for adoption at Ruff House Rescue. The shelter is located in Island Park. Their phone number is (516) 960-6388. 

    This week's dogs are up for adoption at Ruff House Rescue. The shelter is located in Island Park. Their phone number is (516) 960-6388. 

  • Food & Fun PhotosMore>>

  • Sights and scenes from the 2018 Oyster Fest

    Sights and scenes from the 2018 Oyster Fest

    Monday, October 15 2018 10:02 AM EDT2018-10-15 14:02:36 GMT

    Sights and scenes from the 2018 Oyster Fest in Oyster Bay on Oct. 13, 2018.

    Sights and scenes from the 2018 Oyster Fest in Oyster Bay on Oct. 13, 2018.

  • 2018 #FallFunPics

    2018 #FallFunPics

    Send us your #LIFallFun photos!Send us your #LIFallFun photos!

    Is fall your favorite season? Are you and your family doing fun things this fall? News 12 Long Island want to see your Fall Fun pics! Send them via Twitter or Instagram with the #LIFallFun and they might end up on air or on News12.com.

    Is fall your favorite season? Are you and your family doing fun things this fall? News 12 Long Island want to see your Fall Fun pics! Send them via Twitter or Instagram with the #LIFallFun and they might end up on air or on News12.com.

  • Halloween costumes for children in 2018

    Halloween costumes for children in 2018

    Tuesday, October 2 2018 8:40 AM EDT2018-10-02 12:40:46 GMT
    Whether your kids are into "Fortnite," or "The Incredibles," News 12 has the most popular Halloween children's costumes for 2018.Whether your kids are into "Fortnite," or "The Incredibles," News 12 has the most popular Halloween children's costumes for 2018.
    Whether your kids are into "Fortnite," or "The Incredibles," News 12 has the most popular Halloween children's costumes for 2018.Whether your kids are into "Fortnite," or "The Incredibles," News 12 has the most popular Halloween children's costumes for 2018.

    Whether your kids are into "Fortnite," or "The Incredibles," News 12 has the most popular Halloween children's costumes for 2018.

    Whether your kids are into "Fortnite," or "The Incredibles," News 12 has the most popular Halloween children's costumes for 2018.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."