Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts History
North Hall, 1915-1972
|North Hall, located on the Medford campus until destroyed by fire in 1972, was the site of the first continuous radio broadcast in the world. Originally built by Harold J. Power, A1914, who received permission from Tufts to locate a private radio research laboratory on the Hill, the building became home to the American Radio and Research Corporation (AMRAD).Power's construction also included a 304 foot antenna. Additions were made to the building as needed, extending the rear of the structure toward Boston Avenue.|
Under the call numbers 1XE, Power broadcast various recorded concerts through a microphone of his own design for three hours in the evening of March 18, 1916.This event marked America's first continuos radio broadcast. After World War I, the station began broadcasting daily, changing its call letters to WGI in 1922. AMRAD claimed that between May 1921 and July 1922, a number of radio firsts took place in the building, including the first daily broadcasts, radio dance programs, university professor lectures, weather broadcasts, and bedtime stories. Following AMRAD's merger with Magnavox, the company vacated the building.
The structure was briefly used by the Boston Evening Transcript until 1927, when the Department of Electrical Engineering began offering instruction in Radio Engineering, under the supervision of Professor Paul A. DeMars. The building, renamed the Electro-Technical Building was remodeled to provided laboratories, classrooms, offices, and the necessary power supply for the courses. The entire north end of the structure,minus the top floor, was made into a high voltage laboratory, with fire-proof walls, an observation gallery, and a 250,000 volt transformer. As interest diminished, the radio courses were conducted by the Department of Physics. The Department of Electrical Engineering vacated the building, except for the high-voltage laboratory. The antenna had previously been removed.
The Doble Engineering Company, founded by Frank C. Doble, A1911, expanded to fill the building until 1947, when the college reclaimed the space due to a shortage of classroom facilities. After undergoing additional renovations, which included the removal of the high-voltage equipment, the building, under the designation North Hall, housed the departments of education and psychology.
In 1915 a series of photographs of the surrounding area were taken from the top of the building's 304 foot antenna.
North Hall was destroyed by a fire that took place on February 16, 1972.