In the summer of 1959, construction began on a hilltop surrounded by farmland as part of the Echo satellite project.
Crawford Hill was chosen for its proximity to New York and other Bell Labs facilities, and also for its electronic isolation from the radio noise of the metropolitan area. Crawford Hill, within Holmdel Township, is about 3 miles from the former Bell Labs Holmdel location. This long-running facility continues to be a leading center of wireless and optical research.
There are multiple antennae just outside of the building, including the horn antenna that was used as a radio telescope for Bell Labs experiments in satellite communications and astronomy. In 1965, while using this antenna, Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson discovered the microwave background radiation that permeates the universe, thus confirming the Big Bang theory of how the universe was created. In 1978 Penzias and Wilson received the Nobel Prize for their discovery. In 1988 this location was designated a National Historic Landmark owing to its association with the research of these two radio astronomers.