The mystery “house” on Arpoador

Mystery solved! See the bottom of the page

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The other day, I came across a photo of the arrastões (group robberies) from the early 90s and I just couldn’t figure out what the white “house” on the top of the Pedra do Arpoador was. It doesn’t exist these days, but then today I randomly came across a photo of the Circo Voador installation at Arpoador in ’82 and there was the same little building (in the background).

Curious, I reached out to other armchair Rio historians like myself, specifically those that have been doing this much longer than I have, and I was promptly given an answer. Anyways, read below to see what I was told the little “house” is.

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“Photo from the F.F. Leite Antiquarium Archives showing the Coastal Radio Station, together with the Pedra do Arpoador, inaugurated in 1922. This station was under the watch of the Department of Mail and Telegraphs and provided assistance to navegators. In art deco style, it was located on a small platform near the sands of the Praia do Diabo, beside Praia do Arpoador. Available information says there used to be an antenna 200 meters high (typo?), held up by two 35m-high towers, and it connected Ipanema to anywhere in the world. In spite of it not being the best equipped, among the nine coastal stations maintained by the Department of Mail and Telegraphs, it was the most important in terms of its relevance to the port of Rio. In 1967, it was deactivated.”

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On another site (PT) which had an article on Arpoador, I found the additional information below…

“The original building was demolished close to 10 years after (1967) and, in the same place, a bigger one was built, in art deco style, but it was taken down in the 90s.”

So, the timeframe for being taken down in the 90s makes sense, but the white house doesn’t look like a bigger version of the Coastal Radio Station, nor is it in the same location. I couldn’t quite make the jump because of differences in location, size and shape. Call me crazy but the structure pictured at the top of this post is on the highest point of the Pedra do Arpoador, not around to the side of Praia do Diabo, nor near Praia do Arpoador. Take a look smack dab in the middle of this picture, here, which is directly below the red pointer, here.

The mystery continues…

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Mystery solved, not even 20 minutes after posting this article! As my search continued, I discovered this photo below.

yl0sNotice the Radio Station that other historians pointed me towards and just up on the hill, the white “house”! The black thing shooting out the top of it must be the antenna in question, mentioned earlier. The house, therefore, housed the antenna! This means the singular description given to me was actually half about the station and half about the antenna house. Here’s a better view and below, a video ; )

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