WWII Radar Station on Holly Hill

During World War II, probably in 1943, the Corps of Engineers and private contractors built a radar station on Holly Hill between Buttonwood and Holly Roads, 150 feet above sea level. It was called 112-A, site 1A. The SCR 296A was a standard World War II fire control radar utilized by the U.S. Coast Artillery for engaging surface targets. The function of the radar was, during periods of poor visibility, to provide the range and azimuth of the target vessel to the plotting room of the battery. The six inch battery, #204, was located on Fourth Cliff.

Communication was by underground cable. The cable extended down Holly Road to Elm Street, over Ferry Hill, under Ireland Road, to the South River; then under the river to Central Ave. and on up to the Gun Battery. The cable was about 2.5 inches in diameter, containing a number of copper wires wrapped with insulation and steel covering.

My friend Tom once dug up some of the cable in his front yard on Dwight Road. I witnessed a large portion of it dug up under Ireland Road when the town was doing a drainage project. I’m sure plenty more is waiting to be discovered.

The land for the tower was leased from Ernest Dragon of Upland Road and Laura Dwight, possibly of the Doctor Dwight family that lived in a huge mansion at the end of what is now Christmas Tree Lane.

On the site was a concrete building that housed a 2 kw gas generator, and another building that housed a standby generator. A 1000-gallon gasoline tank serviced the generator. A freestanding 114-foot tower that housed the radar antenna was disguised as a water tower. This was located next to a 21’x21′ cement block radar transmitter building. A chain link fence with barbed wire on top surrounded the operation.

The SCR 296-A was declared obsolete in January 1946. The tower and equipment were to be disposed of, the buildings to be retained. The barbed wire didn’t prevent two young teens from scaling the fence and climbing the ladder to the top of the tower. The view was spectacular!

Radar on Holly Hill, disguised as a water tower. 
Photo taken by Larry Bonney. 

One Reply to “WWII Radar Station on Holly Hill”

  1. I am so glad I found your posts! please don't stop writing. these stories are wonderful. I grew up on seaview and I have many many happy memories of all these places!

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