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Marconi Wireless Station National Historic Site of Canada

Marconi Towers Road, Marconi Towers, Nova Scotia, B1B, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1983/06/13

General view of the Marconi Wireless Station.; Agence Parcs Canada / Parks Canada Agency, Aynsley MacFarlane.
General view
Main operating building of Marconi Wireless Station, ca. 1912.; Collection of Port Morien Station, ca. 1912 / Collection de la station de Port Morien, vers 1912.
General view
Interior view of the Marconi House.; Agence Parcs Canada / Parks Canada Agency, Aynsley MacFarlane.
Interior view

Other Name(s)

Marconi Wireless Station National Historic Site of Canada
Marconi Wireless Station
Station de Radiotélégraphie Marconi
Marconi Towers
Marconi Towers
Wireless Telegraphy Station
Radiotelegraphy Station

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1905/01/01 to 1907/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/05/06

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Marconi Wireless Station National Historic Site of Canada is located on Nova Scotia’s rugged northeast coastline, between Glace Bay and Port Morien, in Cape Breton Regional Municipality. Consisting of 350 hectares (800 acres) of mostly barren headland, the site was the location of the first regular intercontinental wireless communications service. Official recognition refers to the 350-hectare site, including associated structures that include the foundations of aerial towers as well as three abandoned buildings in varying degrees of repair.

Heritage Value

Marconi Wireless Station was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1983 because:
- it provided the first regular intercontinental service in 1908; and
- it is the site where Marconi further refined wireless technology.

Marconi Wireless Station, operating with a “sister” station in Clifden, Ireland, was the first to provide regular public intercontinental service in 1908. Built between 1905 and 1907, it became the main transmitting station and the site where Marconi further refined wireless technology.

The site provided an alternative to the first permanent station, which proved too restricted. The original site was established in 1902 at Table Head, on Cape Breton Island, by Guglielmo Marconi after the feasibility of transatlantic wireless communication was demonstrated in 1901. Located further south, between Glace Bay and Port Morien, the Marconi Wireless Station ceased operations in 1946.

Source: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, June, 1983.

Character-Defining Elements

The key elements that contribute to the heritage character of this site include:
- the location on the eastern tip of Nova Scotia facing Big Glace Bay Lake;
- the large 350-hectare surface area, with structures and remains on an open site;
- the integrity of the foundations of the aerial towers, in their footprints and original materials;
- the varied massing, heights, sizes and distinctive profiles of the site’s surviving structures, including the three-storey main station building, the two-and-a-half-storey residence, and the coach house;
- evidence of interior layouts and finishes of the buildings associated with the Marconi Wireless Station’s functions, including remaining operational equipment;
- the spatial relationship of the buildings to each other, to the foundations of the aerial towers, and to the open site.

Recognition

Jurisdiction

Federal

Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Historic Sites and Monuments Act

Recognition Type

National Historic Site of Canada

Recognition Date

1983/06/13

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

n/a

Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Technology and Engineering
Developing Economies
Labour
Developing Economies
Communications and Transportation

Function - Category and Type

Current

Residence
Single Dwelling

Historic

Industry
Communications Facility

Architect / Designer

n/a

Builder

n/a

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

1755

Status

Published

Related Places

n/a

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