Western Union microwave relay sites: Severn, Maryland

Western Union microwave relay sites survey: Part II

Site Name: Severn
Call Sign:
State: Maryland
County: Anne Arundel

1620 Thompson Road
Type of Facility:
Tower Height: 120′

Western Union Telegraph Company microwave system: Severn relay location.

Western Union Telegraph Company Severn relay location. Thompson Farms subdivision plat. Maryland State Archives.

Western Union constructed a 120-foot relay tower in rural Anne Arundel County, Maryland, on property the company bought in September 1945 from Leonard and Harriet Griffith. The company paid $1,700.00 for 0.45 acre (19,602 square feet) for an outparcel located north of Thompson Road in a subdivision first platted in 1914. The Severn facility was constructed before January 1947 and its equipment had been delivered by the first week in February 1947. Western Union owned and operated the Severn Relay until 1990 when Micronet, Inc., a communications facility construction and management company purchased it. In 1997, American Tower Systems, Inc. (predecessor to American Tower Corporation, Inc.), acquired Micronet’s assets in a $70.25 million purchase. In 1998, the property was transferred from American Tower Systems, Inc., to American Tower, L.P.

The Severn relay station has been continuously used in the communications industry since its construction in 1947. The tower and equipment building remain at the site. In 1950, a 1.5-story house was built in the larger parcel, south of the Western Union compound and the site currently is located behind the house’s rear yard and garage. Prior to 2002, the cab had been removed and the current owner, American Tower Corporation, removed the interior stairway between 2003 and 2004. The site’s owner leases space to telecommunications firms who have mounted parabolic and whip antennas at various points along the tower.

Severn relay station, 2002.

© 2010 David S. Rotenstein

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