On the Park Loop Road at the edge of Otter Cove, this modest monument next to an Acadia National Park picnic area honors Alessandro Fabbri (1878-1922), a banking partner of J.P. Morgan’s who summered in Bar Harbor at the beginning of the 20th century. Fabbri, whose hobby was wireless radio, built himself an elaborate private station and in 1912, when amateur radio licenses first were issued in America, he was awarded #10.
When the U.S. declared war on Germany in April 1917, Fabbri was too old to enlist, but he decided to donate his 125-foot yacht Ajax and his radio station to the cause. The Navy happily took the boat, but would not allow a civilian to control a radio facility during wartime, so Fabbri lobbied one of his yachting friends who summered not far away Down East on Campobello Island — Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Before long, he was an ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve Force, and at the end of August 1917, his station formally was commissioned as Radio NBD.
Fabbri, by then promoted to lieutenant, was released from active duty in 1919 and awarded the Navy Cross a year later for developing what the citation called “the most important and most efficient station in the world.” Wanting to add the area around the radio station to Acadia’s Park Loop Road, John D. Rockefeller Jr. headed a drive to shift the naval base east to Winter Harbor on the Schoodic Peninsula, where it operated from 1935 until 2002.