No Man's Land In Bayville

Somewhat creepy site was once home to a major communications facility

The old AT&T transmitter building near Good Luck Point
The old AT&T transmitter building near Good Luck Point

by Patricia A. Miller

The wooden poles that stud the tidal marshlands near Good Luck Point off Bayview Avenue and the old AT&T building would be good fodder for the television show "Life After People."

Some of the poles have toppled over, others slant at angles in the water. The towers and wires of the huge, rhombic attennas lie rusting in the marsh grass. Most of the windows in the building were shattered by vandals long ago. The rest are boarded up. The brick walls are festooned with graffiti.

Berkeley Township bought the building for a dollar years ago, during another administration, Mayor Carmen F. Amato Jr. has said. The acres of marshlands are now part of the Edwin F. Forsythe Wildlife Refuge, home to egrets, ospreys herons and even bald eagles.

But decades ago, the poles, lofty metal antennas and wires and the brick transmitter building were a major, state-of-the-art communications center on the Jersey Shore. The facilities were a high-frequency, shortwave radio transmitting station providing telephone high-seas service to ships at seas and to overseas locations under the callsign WOO, according to www.long-lines.net.

The American Telephone and Telegraph Company liked what it saw at the Berkeley site - often referred to as the Ocean Gate or Good Luck Point site - back in the 1920s.

The company was looking for locations at various points near New York for transmitting and receiving stations. AT&T bought 175 acres of the "Good Luck Tract" back in 1929. The Good Luck Point site was selected as a transmitting station and a site in Forked River as the receiving station.
"This location of the stations almost literally at high water mark was due to the fact that these experiments had demonstrated in a striking way the attenuation of signals travelling over an intervening trip of land between the station and the ocean," according to an article written by Fred Bunnell in 1940, now on www.mysite.verizon.net.

"The original electronic facilities installed at Ocean Gate included a 15 kW shortwave transmitter... together with two curtain antennas seventy feet high," according to an article in www.ontheshortwaves.com. "In the mid 1950s, the large array of curtain antennas was removed and replaced with a series of twenty-nine rhombic antennas."

The death knell for the Good Luck Point station was a result of additional undersea cables laid between Europe and North America and satellite communications, the article states.
The state of the building has deteriorated since it was first closed, even before Superstorm Sandy roared in on Oct. 29, 2012, Amato has said.

Now conditions inside are probably even worse, since the building stands only 18 inches above sea level. The small Good Luck Point community around the bend was devastated by Sandy.

So for now, remnants of the communications system will remain in nature's hands, subject to wind and water and home to peregrine falcons, American bitterns and other waterfowl.

Mortimer Snerd January 27, 2014 at 01:18 PM
So will Amato send our under-employed public works guys there to strip the copper and other metals and get some money for the township out of this eyesore? It won't be enough for demolition, but it could be a start.
Robert Murdock January 27, 2014 at 02:55 PM
John Cobb: The building was NEVER turned over to ARES. We evaluated the condition and made the recommendation that it was way to expensive to restore. Berkeley made the decision to turn the building over to the Tesla Radio Club and that was the last of my involvement. Bob Murdock
hardesthit January 27, 2014 at 03:19 PM
Now that it's been announced here that there is copper in the bld, if the township wants it they better hurry before the dregs get it!!!
NanBed January 27, 2014 at 07:16 PM
Great information. Thanks
1stcav January 29, 2014 at 08:57 AM
Have the ( owners ) Twp. put it out to bid for removal of said : Copper and give out permits, dated with when , how and then let the twp.collect say 20 % of what's recovered buy said bidders. It Must be safe to enter, and that may be a problem...from what was in this article.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »