The East Point Indicator Loop Station is a fascinating piece of World War 2 history and it can be found right along the coast in Nahant, Massachusetts. It was officially known as Indicator Loop Station 1D.
Establishing The East Point Indicator Loop Station
The East Point Indicator Loop Station was established in 1942. It was responsible for deploying and managing anti-submarine indicator loops. Indicator loops were first developed in the early 1900s by the Royal Navy. They later were tested by the United States during World War 1 and during World War 2, about a dozen Indicator Loop Stations were established along the east coast of the United States.
Indicator loops consist of long lengths of armored cables which were laid on the seafloor to detect any enemy submarines. In order to perform optimally, the loops had to cross shipping channels but not be too deep that sensitivity issues would occur. The United States Army Signal Corps was extremely secretive about the usage of indicator loops during the second world war. In fact, the majority of the men who laid the cables and performed maintenance on them only knew they were cables, not indicator loops. Most sailors just assumed they were communications cables.
Laying all the cables was no easy task. The navy utilized a cable-laying ship named Pequot to perform nearly all the operations. The two loops that were part of East Point were loop 3 and loop 4. Loop 3 was about 3 miles long and featured a 4.5-mile tail which would attach it to the East Point Loop Station. Loop 4 began right near the station and was 4.5 miles long. It did not require a long tail because it began right near the shore. Several sono-radio buoys were also used. The cables were produced by the Simplex Wire and Cable Company in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Simplex produced over 3,000 miles for the US Army Signal Corps during WW2.
These two loops (loop 3 and loop 4) provided monitoring for the North Channel of Massachusetts Bay. A minefield was also established beyond the loop indicators, in case the submarine snuck by. Two other loops were established and were managed from Strawberry Point in Scituate, Massachusetts. There was also a southern minefield below the northern one.
(Photo of the Naval Operations Building by user @tom)
Naval Operations Building
The Naval Operations Building is made of reinforced concrete with steel supports and is about 20 feet long and 15 feet wide. When it was operational, there was a lot of equipment inside it. There were basic items such as a heater, water cooler, cabinet, fire extinguisher, and light switch. It was also equipped with essential tools such as a sono-radio-buoy receiver, transmitter control box, binocular shelf, telescope, and many other pieces that were necessary to carry out the loop indicator operations.
The station was decommissioned after WW2 and the building was abandoned.
What Remains Of The Naval Operations Building Today
Today, the East Point Loop Station Operations Building can still be seen standing on the northeastern coast of East Point in Nahant. It is one of many abandoned old structures in present-day Lodge Park. Although no equipment remains in the building, it is still a fascinating structure. There is an entrance, several windows, and also some holes at the base of the concrete structure that were used for the ingress and egress of the loop and power cables. Sadly, the metal window frame has badly deteriorated over the years and it is unknown how long this structure will remain standing. It has been abandoned and left to battle the unpredictable seas of the Atlantic for over eight decades now. If you do end up checking out this place, be extremely careful due to the slippery and steep terrain along with the lack of preservation of the building.
(Photo of the Naval Power Building by user @tom)
Naval Administration And Power Building
About 250 feet southwest of the Operations Building, is the Naval Administration and Power Building. This building was a reinforced concrete structure also built right into the cliffs of East Point. It was made up of two different rooms including an administration room and power room. The administration room was a 12-foot square, had two windows, and included all furniture and appliances needed by the naval unit at Nahant, such as chairs, tables, cabinets, desks, telephones, military-style typewriters, small electric ranges and refrigerators, coffee makers, electric toasters, and double bunk beds with privacy curtains. The power room was 12 feet long and 7 feet, 8 inches wide, and it had a solid concrete floor which was unique. A louvered window ventilated the engine and generator, a double door provided access for staff, and one window was built into the eastern wall.
The power source consisted of a gasoline-powered engine and alternator with a 12.5–15 k-va capacity, rated at 110 volts. The power plant included all switching, controlling, and cable systems, as well as an automatic transfer switch to transition from regular power to emergency power in case of an emergency. The main building was heated by a small oil-burning furnace in the power room. Three cast radiators were installed in the administrative room and one in the power room, and they were all fastened to the floor. On July 17, 1942, the administrative and power building was finished and put into service.
What Remains Of The Naval Administration And Power Building Today
Today, the Naval Administration And Power Building can still be seen standing near Cauldron Cliff on the northeastern coast of East Point in Nahant, Massachusetts. It is one of many abandoned old structures in present-day Lodge Park. Although no equipment remains in the building, it is still a fascinating structure. A few of the stairs leading down to the building and some old windows and an old door can be seen. The building is in pretty rough condition but seems like it should stay standing for a few more decades. It has definitely been through a lot since it was abandoned after World War 2 considering it is continually bashed with waves. If you do end up checking out this place, be extremely careful due to the slippery and steep terrain along with the lack of preservation of the building.
- Year Established: 1942
- Year Abandoned: 1946
- Original Function: Operations building along with an administration and power building for loop indicators that protected Boston Harbor.
East Point Indicator Loop Station Location
- Address: Nahant Road
- Town: Nahant
- State: Massachusetts
- Operations Building GPS: 42.419014, -70.902682
- Power Building Location GPS: 42.418452, -70.903302
- Parking Notes: The two remaining structures of the East Point Loop Indicator Station are located in Lodge Park in Nahant, Massachusetts. This park does not have good parking options. There are about 5 spots located at the entrance to the park, but these are only for cars with Nahant Residency stickers. For visitors, the best parking option is to park at the Nahant Public Library along Pleasant Street. There is 30-minute free parking at the library.
- Parking Directions: HERE
- Operations Building Location Directions: HERE
- Administration and Power Building Location Directions: HERE