South Wellfleet in Barnstable County, Massachusetts — The American Northeast (New England)
The Outer Cape:
Changing Faster Than Technology
In 1917, just 16 years after Guglielmo Marconi built the South Wellfleet wireless station, it was shuttered. New inventions were beginning to make the technology at this station obsolete, but the very ground on which the station stood faced a more imminent threat.
Every year on average, the Outer Cape loses about three feet of upland bluffs due to the natural process of erosion. Strong winter winds scour the face of the dunes, and waves strike the beach every six seconds, dragging sand into the water and redepositing it elsewhere.
The site where Marconi’s station once stood is now gone. How long until the ground beneath your feet is claimed by the ocean?
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This photo from the 1920s shows how close the station towers were to the edge of the bluff. To avoid them toppling over the edge, they were cut down and used for firewood.
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Cement slab from Marconi Station sliding down bluff, 1948
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Technology cannot stop erosion, but it can help us make better predictions about how erosion shapes the landscape. A geoscientist uses GPS technology to measure shoreline change.
Erected by Cape Cod National Seashore.
Location. 41° 54.797′ N, 69° 58.303′ W. Marker is in South Wellfleet, Massachusetts, in Barnstable County. Marker can be reached from U.S. 6 1.2 miles from Marconi Beach Road, on the right when traveling north. Enter the Marconi Site. Turn left onto Marconi Station Road to the parking lot for the White Cedar Swamp Trail. The marker is 100 feet down a paved path to a raised platform viewing station of the Atlantic Ocean. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: South Wellfleet MA 02663, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Guglielmo Marconi (here, next to this marker); Transatlantic Wireless Telegraph Station (within shouting distance of this marker); Transatlantic Triumph (was within shouting distance of this marker but has been reported missing. ); Marconi Wireless Station (was within shouting distance of this marker but has been reported missing. ); Cape Cod National Sea Shore Marconi Beach (approx. 1.6 miles away); Keeping the Light for 114 Years (approx. 3.8 miles away); Nauset Beach Light Station (approx. 3.8 miles away); The Nauset Lights (approx. 3.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in South Wellfleet.
Also see . . .
1. Cape Cod National Seashore. (Submitted on October 23, 2019, by Alan M. Perrie of Unionville, Connecticut.)
2. Marconi Wireless Station. (Submitted on October 23, 2019, by Alan M. Perrie of Unionville, Connecticut.)
3. Atlantic Ocean. (Submitted on October 23, 2019, by Alan M. Perrie of Unionville, Connecticut.)
4. 2009 Photos of Marconi wireless site. (Submitted on October 23, 2019, by Alan M. Perrie of Unionville, Connecticut.)
Categories. • Communications • Environment • Man-Made Features •
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Credits. This page was last revised on October 25, 2019. This page originally submitted on October 23, 2019, by Alan M. Perrie of Unionville, Connecticut. This page has been viewed 35 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on October 23, 2019, by Alan M. Perrie of Unionville, Connecticut. • Michael Herrick was the editor who published this page.