Have you ever been driving along and you see a cool looking building and you wonder what is inside? Sometimes, that building has no windows and you know something cool has to be inside. Well, reader Batshitbox found himself in a similar situation. A white, concrete, art deco building sits in Point Reyes National Seashore. Inside was a mystery. A mystery our reader wanted to solve.
After searching the darkest exits of the information superhighway, Batshitbox found out what was in that building. Actually, he found out what is still in that building. It houses the remains of KPH, a public maritime radio station that served as a hub for ship-to-shore communication along the Pacific coast.
It started in the early days of radio operating out of the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. After the 1906 earthquake, it bounced around from temporary location to temporary location until it was finally acquired by RCA and given a permanent home south of Bolinas, CA. In those early days, it primarily dealt with Morse Code messages between ships and shore stations. In the 1930s it upgraded to radioteletype, which became its mainstay over the next 60 years.
KPH is still operational, mostly because when it was no longer commercially viable, its owners decided the equipment had no resale value and the land is protected by the Point Reyes National Seashore so it could not be sold. Today, KPH perserveres at the hands of volunteers including former employees. The official name of its new “owners” is the Marine Historical Radio Society, which allows its members to operate the station as a HAM radio station.
In other words, KPH is a little bit of living history. I think that’s damn cool.
You can take a virtual tour inside the white building here.
[Image Credit: Donald Kinney]