Here I am writing of Marconi again, but I do so because I am fascinated by what he accomplished. Marconi was born in Bologna and at the age of 20, and with no formal scientific education, he was able to identify the missing element that allowed his self-made apparatus to transmit a signal over a distance of several kilometers. And, he did it alone, basically in a room on the third floor of his father’s home, studying and experimenting alone…no professors taught him! His ingenuity carried the day, if you will.
Within a year, he became an international celebrity and, spending much time in England, he spoke the English language beautifully. On March 27th in 1899, he transmitted a signal across the English Channel.
In 1901, he continued his experiments on Cape Cod, Wellfleet where , as Thoreau said, the “bare and extended arm of Massachusetts, where a man may stand and put all of America behind him.”
Of course, Marconi succeeded there in transmitting a signal across the pond from the Poldhu station on the English coast to Wellfleet. There is another Marconi monument in Wellfleet, dedicated in July of 1963. In 1999 Princess Elettra Marconi visited Wellfleet in recognition of the 125th anniversary of her father’s birth. I believe that is the year that she came to Rhode Island to dedicate the Marconi monument in Cranston.
Diane and I heard that there was a statue to Marconi in Roger Williams Park, so we went to find it one day last winter. There it was, an 18 foot shaft of granite nestled in a copse of trees on a knoll off Frederick Greene Boulevard about 100 yards south of Carr Street.
Marconi Monument, RW Park
- Guglielmo Marconi, Nobel Prize Winner
A handsome and fitting monument to the inventor of the wireless telegraph, it sat overlooking the tranquil pond. I was impressed by its beauty and its power. I needed to know more of the story so, as usual, I went to the best source of information that I know, The Providence Public Library. Betty mailed me the information from the 1953 stories in the Providence Journal.
Work for the monument started before WW II in 1937 or so. It was halted when the United States broke off diplomatic relations with Italy at the start of the War. The granite pieces had been completed and stored in Westerly and Providence.
A committee of undeterred citizens…Walter F. Fitzpatrick, Oresto DiSaia, Frank Rao and Mrs. Alice Thompson, with advice from Antonio Pace and Luigi Scala…moved forward after the War to get the Roger Williams site approved.
The monument was dedicated on October 26, 1953 with Marconi’s proud daughter, Degna Paresce, the guest of honor. Imagine, Marconi’s daughter in Rhode Island not so long ago. “I am honored and pleased,” she said while standing at the foot of the monument. A host of other State and Religious dignitaries were present one of whom, Bishop McVinney, expressed the hope that Marconi’s invention would be used for the good of mankind.. Senators Pastore and Greene said it was fitting for the monument to be in Roger Williams Park as both men…Marconi and Williams… were described as pioneers.
Marconi Monument, RW Park, Providence, RI
I wonder what Marconi would think if he were present today to see where the wireless world has come. Power indeed.
As you all know so well and have heard me say, I believe it is good to remember and record the past. It is good to recognize those who have contribited. It is good to recognize those who acknowledge genious and so erect lasting monuments.
Giuseppe Marconi, a humble and kind man, typified the “spirit of the good heart and genius for work.”
If you are in the Park, find the Marconi statue and pause for a moment to think of those who made it possible.
I would love to hear your thoughts.
The Marconi Maritime Center in Chatham, Cape Cod
Thr Maritime Center is what I wrote of in a previous post. It is in Chatham, MA, on Cape Cod and well worth a visit. Marconi chose Chatham as a site for one of his 10 wireless radio ststions planned to link America with Europe and Japan. It was built in 1914 and converted to maritime operations. It served mariners the world over until 1997. The buildings are now restored very well and unchanged in their original settings.
Built by Marconi in 1914, it became the “world’s greatest coastal station ” for ship to shore communications during WWII. Visit the Walter Cronkite video of the center and its glory.
The web site is
I visited Chatham on Cape Cod where Diane and I had an informative and relaxing week after the wedding of our daughter. I never knew that there was a wireless telegraphy station in Chatham. And this station has been dedicated to the memory of Guglielmo Marconi. I will write more of this in an upcoming blog, but now I return to Marconi in Rhode Island.
My cousin Yolanda told me there was a monument to this Nobel laureate in RI. “Yes,’ I told her. “It is in Roger Williams Park.”
At the Busy Intersection
“Well,” she replied, “there is another in Cranston.”
At the Piazza Marconi
Marconi Monument in Cranston, RI
Today, Diane and I found it at the corner of Atwood and Plainfield Streets in the Knightsville section of Cranston not far from St. Rocco’s Church. It stood unrecognized and lonely in front of the Walgreen’s Drug Store at a busy intersection. Few looked at it, even when Diane and I were taking pictures. This monument was dedicated in 2001 and Marconi’s youngest daughter, Elettra, was in attendence.
I was to learn that there were two monuments to the great Marconi right here in Rhode Island! God bless those who record, monumentally, the past!