News & Events
On a chilly October evening, several TSC Board members joined a lively group of local history aficionados who crowded into the cosy parlor of the society’s historic 1828 house at the “Duck Pond”. After the society’s regular business, TSC President Jane Alcorn gave a comprehensive overview of Tesla’s various research and engineering work and his vision for the Wardenclyffe plant. Augmented by lively discussions of several historical facets, such as the state of development of roads and buildings at the time, Jane outlined how the site became a photo processing plant and eventually, as a result of prevailing waste disposal practices at the time, part of New York State’s Superfund Program. Having completed the environmental cleanup, Agfa, the property owner, is offering the site for sale.
TSC Board member Dave Madigan explained Agfa’s sales offer and how both the current zoning (residential, two acres) and the environmental easements on parts of the property affect what a potential buyer can do with the property. Answering questions from the audience, Dave commented on the strong support from elected officials to acquire the property for public use and reported that, according to recent press releases, they have approached Agfa requesting to be considered as a buyer.
TSC Secretary Chris Wesselborg then took the audience on a photo tour of the site, which included a close-up view of the tower base and of the inside of Tesla’s laboratory. The pictures demonstrate how well the laboratory was built and that, despite many years of use as an industrial building, it has great potential as a future museum. Contrasting historical images from Wardenclyffe at Tesla’s time with similar views from the recent site visits inspired interesting conversations about the significance of Tesla’s work at Wardenclyffe. (A pdf copy of the presentation is available here; file size: 6.3 MB.) Incidentally, the photo tour was the public debut of TSC’s new flat screen monitor and its superb display quality.
During conversations after the presentation, TSC Board members learned of other ongoing activities, such as a recent update at the Shoreham Village website, which has an interactive map of Shoreham Village in 1917. The map is part of the website’s village history page with many links to interesting local images.
The TSC Board thanks the Wading River Historical Society for the opportunity to speak about the status of the Tesla site. This presentation was supported in part by a grant from Suffolk County.