Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Gallups Island Radio

Gallops Island, also known as Gallups Island, is an island in Boston Harbor that sits about six miles from shore, between Georges Island and Long Island.  It's about 23 acres in size. It's closed to visitors at the moment due to asbestos remediation still in progress. The island is named after Mr. John Gallop, a resident and sea faring man. The island has been home to a quarantine station, a military camp and during World War II it was occupied by a radio school. More here.

The radio school housed about 325 people. Strangely it operated side by side with a school for bakers and cooks which housed another 150 people. At least the snacks were probably good. The school was a U.S. Maritime Radio School, and it opened in 1940. Commander Sherman W. Reed headed the school from 1942 forward. In that era it was standard to have three radio operators aboard every merchant ship so that rotating shifts could keep the wireless manned 24 hours a day. From 1940 forward the school graduated up to 30 students every 20 - 32  weeks. One source claims that they graduated 2,830 students, the Gallups Island Radio station put the real number at about 5,000. You can see an image of the 1945 graduating class here.

In  1946 the school was closed and the buildings were dismantled. Whatever the long term plan was for the property it was cut short. In 1949 a  stranded fisherman started a signal fire to aid rescue his fire spread through the grass a wharf and several other buildings. The island became a park officially in 1975. The structures, whatever they were all long gone except for the concrete pilings from Radio School Mess Hall and the foundations of other structures.The definitive book on this is We Came From All Over, We Went Everywhere published by the Gallups Island Radio Association in 1997.