Fort Myer Naval Radio Towers

Fort Myer structures facilitated first overseas wireless communications.

To download the full size image with incredible detail click here (links below the picture).

Have Martian tripods landed in bucolic Fort Myer or do these imposing skeletons come in peace?

This Library of Congress print, circa 1916-1917, comes from the Herbert A. French Collection and displays the Fort Myer Naval Radio Towers.

At an imposing 600 feet, the tallest of the three towers would have dominated the D.C. skyline (the Washington Monument reaches a mere 555 feet 5⅛, according to the National Park Service).

The wireless station was the first to transmit wireless communication across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

From a 1915 issue of 'The Electrical Experimenter':

"THE spoken word uttered in Arlington, Va., has been heard in Paris, France, on three different occasions recently, and particularly on the evening of Oct. 20 last. On that memorable date the human voice was projected across the Atlantic for the first time in history, and "Hellos" and "Good-byes" spoken in Arlington were heard and understood in the French capital, 8,800 miles from the point of transmission.

Announcement of the epochal achievement was made officially by the American Telephone & Telegraph Co., following cabled confirmation of the success of the wireless telephone experiments received in New York and in Washington from the company's engineers in Paris." 

Ohh AT&T, if only your iPhone service could match 1915's technology.

The towers posed a threat to planes landing at National Airport and were ultimately disassembled (correction) in 1941, according to Arlington Historical Society.

edobson February 16, 2011 at 02:50 PM
It is my understanding that the radio towers were not "torn down" but rather "disassembled" and then rebuilt on a peninsula across from USNA. At Tower Road and Helix Road, Annapolis, Maryland you can see three huge towers that I've been told are the old Arlington towers.
Christian Pilling February 16, 2011 at 04:38 PM
Interesting. I'll change it to "disassembled." That's definitely more accurate. Found a picture of the Annapolis towers and they do look very similar. http://static.panoramio.com/photos/original/25842089.jpg


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