Stanford White and Wardenclyffe

Stanford White, ca. 1892Stanford White was an important American architect and one of the founders of the influential architectural firm of McKim, Mead, and White in 1880. White’s talent for lavish Italian Renaissance style and what has come to be known as Shingle style helped establish them as one of the best-known firms of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Either in collaboration with his partners or alone, White designed a wide variety of public, institutional, and religious buildings, including Washington Square Arch (1889), the first Madison Square Garden (1890), the Vanderbilt family residence (1905), and the New York Herald Building (1894). Of these, only Washington Square Arch still stands.

Evelyn Nesbit, ca. 1900White also designed Tesla’s Wardenclyffe laboratory building. According to legend, White and Tesla had a chance meeting one night at the Players Club on New York’s Gramercy Park. White was thrilled to meet Tesla, whose plan for a world broadcasting system had recently been extensively covered in Century magazine. During their conversation Tesla explained his needs for the structure of the laboratory and tower and White, enthralled, gladly offered to create the design. Over the following months he did just that, corresponding regularly with Tesla on the specifications.

In June 1906, while attending the opening of Madison Square Garden’s roof show in the building he had designed, White was shot and killed by Harry Thaw, the jealous husband of former chorus girl Evelyn Nesbit—leaving Wardenclyffe as his final creation.

Source: Tesla Wardenclyffe Project
(Reproduced with permission.)