Western Union microwave relay sites: Brandywine, Delaware

Western Union microwave relay sites survey: Part III

Site Name: Brandywine
Call Sign:
State: Delaware
County: New Castle
Brandywine Hundred
West Side Ebright Road
Type of Facility:
Tower Height: 100′

The only Western Union relay located in the state of Delaware was built in New Castle County north of Wilmington near the Pennsylvania state line at the intersection of Ebright Street and Ramblewood Drive. Known locally as “Tower Hill,” this location at 447.85′ above mean sea level is the highest natural elevation in Delaware. Western Union constructed a 100′ tower at this site on property the company purchased from Richard and Evelyn Merchant on 18 September 1945. The company paid $1,200.00 for 0.992 acre and it owned the site until 1974 when New Jersey-based Lutner, Inc. bought it for $6,000.00. Four years later, Lutner sold it to amateur radio enthusiast Robin McCray. The tower currently is used by amateur radio and commercial tenants.

Brandywine relay station, 2003.

In 2003 the tower, cab, and equipment building were intact. Alterations to the tower were limited to the collocation of multiple whip (omni-directional) antennas.

Brandywine relay station, 2003.

© 2010 David S. Rotenstein

2 thoughts on “Western Union microwave relay sites: Brandywine, Delaware

  1. Dear David,

    First, kudos on maintaining this excellent blog as a resource for us amateur historians. I found the blog on the Brandywine tower in northern Delaware very interesting and well researched.

    However (there’s always a “however”), I lost my way and became a little confused with the following: “Western Union constructed a 100-foot tower at this site on property the company purchased from Richard and Evelyn Merchant on 18 September 1945.” I’m sure you meant the date given was the date the property was purchased, but in my heart I was hoping 18 September 1945 was the date construction began on the tower. For some research I’m doing for the Delaware Repeater Association, I would be grateful if you could offer or steer me to information as to when tower construction began or when the tower officially began doing what it was built for.

    With sincere appreciation,
    Mike Hayward

    • Mike,
      Thanks for writing. The 18 Sept. 1945 date was the date Western Union bought the property. The deed for the purchase was recorded in New Castle County Deed Book I-45, p. 264. I will have to dig into my archives files to see if I have a specific construction date for that tower. It likely wasn’t constructed until later in 1945 or the following year. The FCC didn’t issue construction permits for the Western Union sites until November 1945.

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