Dated: 08/29/2018

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Being a realtor, means driving a lot – not as much as an Uber driver, but a close second. I love the history in our region and periodically I will come across a road name that requires further explanation.

In Mystic Island in Little Egg Harbor Township, I came across “Radio Road.” Mystic Island is a development started in the 1960s and undergoing a transformation from smaller to bigger homes. Before it was called Mystic Island, it was Hickory Island and regarded as very rural. It was serviced by the Tuckerton Railroad and had one two lane road known as Shore Road which was renamed to Radio Road in recognition of a large radio tower at the end of the road.

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                                                                        Tuckerton Wireless Tower ca. 1916

In 1912 the Tuckerton Wireless Tower was constructed by the German telegraph company, HOMAG, and all the parts were fabricated and tested in Germany prior to being shipped to the United States. It was constructed initially without the U.S. Government’s knowledge and run by German nationals under HOMAG’s employ. Its sole purpose was to communicate directly with an identical tower in Eilvese, Germany, and was operational by June 19, 1914 – two weeks before the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand which commenced World War I.

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In September 1914, President Woodrow Wilson issued a declaration of neutrality to keep the United States out of the War, and also ordered the U.S. Navy to take over communications from the German wireless radio tower in Tuckerton to assure neutrality of all messages coming from the United States. Astonishingly, the Navy permitted German nationals to continue running the station, and it has long been rumored that the message to a German U-boat to sink the British Ocean liner, Lusitania, in 1915 with a loss of 1,198 souls came from the unsupervised Tuckerton Wireless tower.

When the United States entered the War in April of 1917, the Tuckerton Wireless was shut down by Executive Order, and the German nationals employed by HOMAG, who had been running it, became prisoners of war. The U.S. Navy used the Tuckerton Wireless Tower as back up for main trans-Atlantic communications coming out of New Brunswick. After the end of the War, the Tower was transferred to the U.S. Navy as part of war reparations paid by Germany to the United States.

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After the first World War, the Tuckerton Wireless Tower was sold to RCA which operated it until 1948 as a back up to their central radio facility in Rocky Point, NY. The 680 foot steel tower, anchored by three large concrete piers, was dismantled in 1955, but the concrete piers and a series of smaller ones that provided support to the main tower still exist today at North Ensign Drive, South Ensign Drive, Staysail Drive, and scattered about in the lagoons. When RCA dismantled the Wireless Tower, the land was sold to Lagoon Parks, Inc., a land development company that created the community of Mystic Island.

From your “Running Realtor” Andrew Gonzales

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Andrew Gonzales

As a lifelong resident of Ocean County, New Jersey, Andrew Gonzales brings exceptional insight into local market trends, and full knowledge of ordinances, insurance requirements, and FEMA standards. A....

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