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Tesla Wardenclyffe Project Update

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From Feed Line No. 6

An Introduction to the Issues

Radio communications, fluorescent lighting and AC power, these are all familiar and vital components to life as we know it in the twentieth century and all were contributions of the prolific turn-of-the-century inventor named Nikola Tesla. Even in light of their significance, there are additional inventions which this remarkable man left to the world that have the capacity to be of an equivalent or perhaps even greater value to society. Much of Dr. Tesla's legacy, that which we can see, use and learn about, is in the form of these inventions�much but not all.

Near the North Shore Long Island community of Shoreham, New York there remains structure which is another, but no less significant reminder of this great man's work. Its importance lies not so much in the technology which it represents, nor in the engineering clues that remain buried there. It is in the fact that the Wardenclyffe Power Plant/Office Building is the last of the good Doctor's own workplaces to remain standing anywhere in the world. The saga of the building's history, from its construction to house a prototype world radio communications facility to its later adaptation for other commercial uses, is a story yet to be fully told.

The most recent chapter begins in the Spring of 1994 when the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation published a two page description of the Wardenclyffe property in the state registry of Inactive Hazardous Waste Disposal Sites. The DEC report cited the presence, in unknown quantities, of chromium, cadmium, barium, and lead. The soil contamination was said to have occurred between 1949 and 1969 through the discharge of untreated process water piped into an 800 by 25 foot recharge basin located along the north side of the property. It was feared by informed parties working in the area that the heavy metals pollution might even extend to the building itself.

At the request of Ljubo Vujovic of the Tesla Memorial Society, noted Tesla historian Leland Anderson contacted the various Tesla named organizations, suggesting a letter writing campaign to encourage a listing of the Wardenclyffe site on the National Register of Historic Places. What ensued over the course of the next few months was an outpouring of support by individuals from across the country. At the advice of the President's Advisory Council on Historic Preservation many of these letters were addressed to the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. (Note: National Historic designation is always preceded by historic registration at the state level.) In mid October '94 an Application for Technical Assistance was filed with New York State on behalf of the historic Wardenclyffe building and tower foundation sites. This initiated the formal nomination process which, if entirely successful, will result in placement of the Wardenclyffe sites on both the State and National Registers of Historic Places. Subsequently the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation conducted an on-site inspection which established that the sites meet with the seven New York State criteria for Historic Designation.

Up to May '95 much of this work had been conducted by members of an ad hoc group called the Tesla Wardenclyffe Project Committee. By that time it had become apparent that the TWPC would have to coalesce into a formal institution in order to successfully achieve its growing set of objectives. The most important of these was, and still is, acquisition of the 16 acre parcel in Shoreham upon which are located the Wardenclyffe building and the transmitting/receiving tower foundation. AGFA, Division of Miles Incorporated, has stated their intention to divest themselves of the property after their N.Y. State mandated cleanup is finished. Furthermore, they have indicated that donation of the entire facility to a properly configured receiver is the most cost effective way for them to proceed. Such a receiving entity will need an estimated annual income of at least $250,000 to provide a minimum level of upkeep for the building and grounds. This clearly defines the Project's first major challenge.

Our second goal, creation of the Nikola Tesla Museum follows directly from the first. In order to fulfill our mission of restoring and preserving the power-plant/office building, a long range purpose in keeping with the landmark's character has been established. It is felt the best use is as a museum with complete library and archival facilities specifically intended to help increase public awareness of Dr. Tesla's engineering legacy, to reintegrate Nikola Tesla back into the mainstream of science and to instill visitors with a greater interest in the sciences in general. Once plans for the museum, its library and historical archives are sufficiently advanced it is felt that restoration and placement of building and the adjacent tower foundation on the New York State and National Registers of Historic Places will naturally follow.

On May 6, 1995 the first meeting of the Board of Directors was held and it was agreed that the ad hoc committee would be reestablished under the name the Tesla Wardenclyffe Project, Inc. The Directors were confirmed and its Officers were elected. At the same meeting a Technical Advisory Board was established. This group presently includes such notable individuals as Dr. James Corum, Harry Goldman, Dr. Aleksandar Marincic, William Terbo, and George Westinghouse, IV. On June 19, 1995 Articles of Incorporation were filed with the State of Colorado under the Colorado Nonprofit Corporation Act and its existence was formalized with the assignment of registration number 951079188 M. Upon the anticipated acquisition of the property, the Tesla Wardenclyffe Project, Inc. will relocate its Principle Office to Suffolk County in the State of New York to be reinstated as The Nikola Tesla Museum, Library and Archives.

Over the last year and a half the Tesla Wardenclyffe Project has grown from a good idea into a viable organization. Considerable progress has been made in advancing our program, but many formidable challenges lie ahead. While the TWP, Inc. has established an open dialogue with Agfa and has received their strong assurances we are under consideration to receive the property, this outcome is by no means certain. But how do you the reader fit into all of this? one might ask. While at present the Tesla Wardenclyffe Project consists of only a small group of people, we are registered as a membership organization. At this time we are actively seeking additional people to fill out our ranks. In light of projected monetary requirements, we are especially in need experienced fund raisers. If you have something to offer the Project, even if it is only your vote of confidence or perhaps access to a particular talent, than please take some time from your schedule to send us a note or make a phone call. A plan to steer the destiny of an important historical landmark on the North Shore of Long Island, New York is underway. We are working to earn your support and very much need to hear from you. All correspondence should be addressed to the Tesla Wardenclyffe Project, P.O. Box 990, Shoreham, NY 11786 or call (970) 453-6692 (Phone/Fax).

Credit: Nikola Tesla � A Spark of Genius, Carol Dommermuth-Costa

"If ever we can ascertain at what period the earth's charge, when disturbed, oscillates with respect to an oppositely electrified system or known circuit, we shall know a fact possibly of the greatest importance to the welfare of the human race." Nikola Tesla, 1893

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