< Back

World War II Site Houlton

Aaron Putnam and Joseph Houlton started a village and named it for Joseph Houlton, who moved to Maine from the more populated part of Massachusetts in 1807.[1] Maine separated from Massachusetts in 1820. The United States government in 1828 established Hancock Barracks, a military post. Houlton officially incorporated as a town in 1831. When the Aroostook War flared in 1839, three companies of the 1st Artillery Regiment manned Hancock Barracks under Major R. M. Kirby. Major Kirby helped to restrain the twelve companies of militia that Maine sent there from starting a shooting war. Webster-Ashburton Treaty settled the boundary dispute in 1842, and the Army abandoned Hancock Barracks in 1847.[2] The U.S. Army installed its first transatlantic[3] Radio Intelligence Station in Hancock, Maine,[4] during World War I. The Houlton Radio Intelligence Station intercepted German diplomatic communications primarily from its Nauen Transmitter Station. MI-8 created the Radio Intelligence Service, using selected Signal Corps personnel for the sole purpose of supporting strategic intelligence through radio intercept during World War I. United States intelligence services built Houlton as the first unit of its type, and its success helped to lay the foundation for many more United States long range radio intercept stations. On 7 January 1927, AT&T initiated the first transatlantic commercial telephone service[5], linking New York and London. The AT&T Transoceanic Receiver Station was located at the end of Hand Lane, 46.1270°N 67.8841°W, two miles west of town center. The massive receiving antenna, [6] over three miles long and two miles wide, straddled Interstate 95 in Maine four miles west of center of Houlton. The receiver station worked with massive long wave transmitting facility of AT&T, located at RCA [7] in Rocky Point, New York. The receiver station received the longwave telephone signal from the British General Post Office Rugby transmitting station near[8] Rugby, England.