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Columbia Island (New York)

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Title: Columbia Island (New York)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: New Rochelle, New York, Columbia Island, New Rochelle, New York/Selected picture/1, Geography of New Rochelle, New York, New Rochelle, New York/Selected picture/Archives
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Columbia Island (New York)

A view of the island from Pelham Bay Park

Columbia Island (formerly Little Pea Island), is an island in Long Island Sound and part of New Rochelle, New York. It is situated off the south-eastern coast of Davids' Island, immediately adjacent to Pea Island. The island varies in size from about one acre to 175 square feet depending on the tide.

It was once owned by the Iselin family who sold it to the Huguenot Yacht Club along with Pea Island in 1936. Three years later the club sold Little Pea Island to CBS, which renamed it "Columbia". In 1940 CBS began construction of a concrete foundation to support a transmitter building with emergency housing for ten workers, topped by a 410 foot (125 m) antenna tower for WCBS-AM (then known by the call sign WABC). [1] [2] CBS spent approximately $500,000 to construct the transmitter and broadcast tower. The station contained a 50,000-watt transmitter housed in a 75-square-foot (7.0 m2) copper-walled building. There also was a 5,000-watt transmitter unit for emergency use. Electric power was supplied through two submarine cables, which were connected to separate power plants to prevent interruption of service. Emergency generators were installed on the island for protection against power failure.[3] The men who operated the station lived within a grounded metal shell under which were living quarters for engineers, workshops, electrical units that supplied tube voltages, and the backup generator.[4] The transmitter remained in operation until 1963 when it became obsolete, and the station was moved to nearby High Island.

The island was then purchased by the show-business couple Peter Lind Hayes and Mary Healy, who broadcast a breakfast conversation show from their home there. It was part of a package that included a strip of waterfront property, a speedboat, and a tugboat. The couple later gave the island to the College of New Rochelle.[5] In 2005, the then-current owner of the island sought to demolish the old transmitter building and replace it with a private residence. [6]

Filmmaker and actor Al Sutton bought Columbia Island in 2007. To make the island more livable, he constructed an off-the-grid "green" home within the concrete building with solar panels.[7]


  1. ^ "CBS on an Island".  
  2. ^ Kennedy Jr., T.R (1941-10-12). "Radio 'Island' Comes to Life" (PDF, fee required).   (Reprint)
  3. ^ "NEW STATIONS UNDER WAY WEAF and WABC Will Take to the Air From Sites on Long Island Sound".  
  4. ^ Kennedy Jr., T.R (1941-10-12). "Radio 'Island' Comes to Life" (PDF, fee required).  
  5. ^ "Radio-TV Couple Donate an Island To Catholic College". NY Times. Jan 13, 1966. Retrieved 21 July 2012. 
  6. ^ Kettner, Susan. "Board of Appeals on Zoning Agenda 6/7/2005 - 7:00PM".   (Site defunct prior to 10/2010)
  7. ^

External links

  • (GNIS) - Columbia Island
  • Google - Map / Satellite image
  • NYHometown Locator - Columbia Island / Map
  • Jim Hawkins WCBS WFAN Transmitter Tour

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