Vignette 276 > Middle Peak Towers

From certain locations, the view of Mt. Tamalpais now includes a big white sphere that is a radar dome. In 1906 the view was quite different. There were two big towers.  In December 1902, a transmission from the Marconi station in Nova Scotia became the world’s first radio message to cross the Atlantic from North America. In 1905, the Pacific Wireless Telegraph Company erected two 300-ft wooden towers on Middle Peak of Mt. Tamalpais. The towers were intended for radio communication with Hawaii and possibly Japan. It is not clear that they were ever used successfully. The towers were built of oak and fir with metal limited to the necessary bolts and braces. They were built in Oakland and disassembled for shipment. The Mill Valley & Mt. Tamalpais Scenic Railroad transported the tower components up the mountain to the gap between Middle and East Peaks. From there, they were taken up to Middle Peak on a funicular constructed for the purpose and erected.  In December 1906, a windstorm blew them down, leaving only the two concrete platforms. The towers were never replaced. In 1913, an American Marconi Company transmitting station was established in Bolinas and a receiving station in Marshall.