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New Life For An Historic Landmark

Article List

Adapted from Feed Line No. 4


Located near the small Long Island town of Shoreham and founded in the name of James S. Warden, it was to intended as the location of Nikola Tesla's prototype station for a World Broadcasting System.  Famed architect Stanford White undertook the majestic building's design with associate W. D. Crow who planned the 187-foot dome capped tower.  Its construction was made possible with the backing of financier J. P. Morgan, but the project was never brought to total completion due to lack of sufficient funding.  In 1901, what was later to become a monument to the history of wireless communications was dubbed Wardenclyffe.

By the Summer of 1902 Tesla had shifted his laboratory operations to the rural Long Island setting and work began in earnest on the development of the station.  Within a year the mushroom shaped tower had begun to take form.  However, by 1906 funding difficulties had taken their toll resulting in the plant's abandonment. In 1917 the property was foreclosed and the magnificent tower destroyed.  About 1930 the building appears to have seen use by RCA as a warehouse.  In the 1950s the Peerless Photo Products Division of Miles, Inc. purchased the site and some years later an historical marker was erected in recognition of the plant's origins.  Eventually it was converted into a storage facility for AGFA, also a Division of Miles, Inc.  After nearly 60 years of industrial activity at the site, the plant is being decommissioned.  While the site is not presently accessible to the public, AGFA has expressed an interest in seeing the site conserved for a future use that is more in harmony with its historical nature.

While expectations for this unique brick structure are still in doubt, there is hope the building will be restored.  A number of Tesla-named organizations have accepted the challenge to help with the Save The Wardenclyffe Property Project, including the Tesla Memorial Society, the Tesla Coil Builders Association, and the Tesla Engine Builders Association.  Also interested in seeing the site preserved is the Science Museum located in Shoreham, New York.  If circumstances allow, the museum would like to utilize the site for its future activities.  Your letters of support may be addressed to:

Shoreham Wading River Science Museum
Rt. 25A
Shoreham, NY 11786
(516) 821-8155.

If you are interested in helping to preserve the old Tesla Laboratory Building�Wardenclyffe�please consider getting in contact with the following and making your voice heard concerning this issue:

Advisory Council on Historic Preservation
1100 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC 20004
Robert D. Bush, exec. dir., (202) 786-0503, (202)786-1172 (Fax).

This agency advises the president and Congress on historic preservation.  It reviews and comments on federal projects and programs affecting historic, architecture, archaeological, and cultural resources:

National Park Service, Cultural Resources
U.S. Department of the Interior
P.O. Box 37127, 1849 C St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20013.
Jerry L. Rogers, Assoc. Dir., (202) 208-7625, (202) 208-7520 (Fax).

The National Park Service oversees the preservation of federal historic sites and administration of buildings programs.  Their programs include the placement of properties on the National Register of Historic Places, plus grant and aid assistance.  Placement of the site and building on the National Register is an important first step in the preservation effort.

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