Rocky Point is home to the site where American radio company RCA once operated a very large transmitting and transmitter research facility, known as Radio Central. RCA began to transmit transatlantic radio messages from Radio Central after its opening on November 5, 1921. Early Radio Central transmissions were received by many European nations, including Britain, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Austria, and Poland.
On January 7, 1927, AT&T initiated the first transatlantic commercial telephone service, linking London and New York. AT&T’s transmitter was at Radio Central, and their receiver was in Houlton, Maine. The radiotelephone signal from Radio Central was received by the British General Post Office’s receiver facility in Cupar, Scotland.
Radio Central was one of the many original operating and touring sites of Guglielmo Marconi’s radio shack, which now is displayed at Rocky Point’s Frank J. Carasiti Elementary School.
The 5,200-acre (21 km2) Rocky Point site was decommissioned and demolished in the 1970s. It now consists of many concrete ruins and downed telephone poles and radio towers, owned by the State of New York. It is part of the Rocky Point Natural Resources Management Area, which is in the Long Island Central Pine Barrens. The site gives an interesting insight into the 1920s, because—being in the middle of the forest—the footprints of the site remain largely untouched since its operational period. The western terminus of the 125-mile-long (201 km) Paumanok Path hiking trail is in the forest, with the eastern terminus at the Montauk Point Light.
A secret project housed in Radio Central’s building #10 became the world’s first color television.
Rocky Point, along with neighboring village Shoreham, was also the home to inventor and scientist Nikola Tesla’s early research facilities. Rocky Point is the home of the only paragliding site (as designated by the USHPA) on Long Island. Read more