Digest>Sep/Oct 2017

Photo Caption:

Walter Nathaniel Fanning (John Kofod’s son-in-law), who was responsible for the fire in the attic of Yerba Buena lighthouse, is shown here at work in the Naval Training base at Yerba Buena with his radio equipment. Walter Fanning always said it was he who started the World’s Fair on Treasure Island in 1936. At the time he was stationed in the radio room as Chief Radioman when the president was supposed to call the World’s Fair officials to start the Fair by voice. If there was a glitch in the voice messaging, he was to signal the start in Morse Code, which he did. Later on, he heard, what was believed to be, Amelia Earhart’s last broadcast on his shortwave radio. He always had radios everywhere and could get Russian broadcasts even though he never understood them. As we know, the wiring from these radios was extensive; hence the fire in the Yerba Buena Lighthouse keepers’ quarters. Walter Fanning also had a couple of patents for the “Fanning Relay System.” The Navy bought the patents from him, and he used the proceeds to buy a house in Alameda, where he retired.
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