07/07/15 8:00pm
07/07/2015 8:00 PM

Tower to the People

Celebrate Nikola Tesla’s 159th birthday this Friday by watching the Long Island premiere of “Tower to the People,” a new documentary about a successful grassroots campaign to save Wardenclyffe, the famed inventor’s last laboratory located in Shoreham.

(more…)

10/12/14 2:00pm
10/12/2014 2:00 PM
Nikola Tesla's final laboratory in Shoreham will be open to the public for three hours later this month. (Credit: Tesla Society, courtesy)

Nikola Tesla’s final laboratory in Shoreham will be open to the public for three hours later this month. (Credit: Tesla Society, courtesy)

You’ve likely driven past legendary scientist Nikola Tesla’s lab in Shoreham many times in the past.

And it’s even more likely you’ve never set foot on the lab’s grounds.

You can change all that from 1 to 4 p.m. Oct. 25.  (more…)

08/25/14 12:00pm
08/25/2014 12:00 PM
Elon Musk — show here at the Tesla Grand Opening in 2008 — has promised $1 million to a Shoreham-based group hoping to build a museum dedicated to Nikola Tesla. (Credit: Brian Solis, Creative Commons)

Elon Musk — show here at the Tesla Grand Opening in 2008 — has promised $1 million to a Shoreham-based group hoping to build a museum dedicated to Nikola Tesla. (Credit: Brian Solis, Creative Commons)

For most, it’s not easy to get the attention of the CEO of a publicly traded company.

But one Southold couple managed to do just that this week.  (more…)

05/15/13 8:00am
05/15/2013 8:00 AM
PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO

The new owners of famous inventor Nikola Tesla’s Long Island laboratory opened its gates Monday afternoon to share the history of the site and let outsiders on the property for the first time in years.

The Wardenclyffe property off Route 25A in Shoreham was sold last Thursday for $850,000 to the nonprofit Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe, who hope to turn the property into a museum and science center to honor Mr. Tesla’s legacy.

The purchase was paid for by a state reimbursement grant and almost $1.4 million in online contributions from more than 33,000 contributors from 108 countries.

Mr. Tesla, a rival of Thomas Edison and a pioneer in the use of alternating current, conducted experiments at the Wardenclyffe laboratory, built in 1901, in hopes of providing free, wireless electricity to the world.

The tower designed to provide the electrical energy was torn down in 1917 and, after Mr. Tesla’s death, the property was later leased to a photography company, which dumped waste on the land.

Today the property shows the age and neglect. Graffiti marks up the walls and there are signs of squatters who lived in the vacant buildings.

Nonprofit officials said they have obtained permission to see the original blueprints for Mr. Tesla’s lab, and plan to use the designs to restore the property. The project is expected to cost $10 million in total.

[email protected]

05/08/13 3:00pm
05/08/2013 3:00 PM
COURTSEY PHOTO | The Wardenclyffe laboratory in Shoreham was built in 1901 by renowned architect Stanford White.

COURTSEY PHOTO | The Wardenclyffe laboratory in Shoreham was built in 1901 by renowned architect Stanford White.

Seven months after an online fundraiser raised $1.4 million to save the last remaining laboratory of famed inventor Nikola Tesla, the nonprofit group that organized the drive has purchased the property to build a museum and science center.

The sale of the Wardenclyffe property, off Route 25A in Shoreham, marks the end of a nearly 20-year effort by the group, Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe, to prevent the property from falling into the hands of owners who would demolish the lab.

“I think we can all say despite the ups and downs it was well worth it because here we are,” said group president Jane Alcorn. “Almost 100 years ago, Tesla lost this property to foreclosure. We have just reached the point where we can say we’ve purchased it in his name.”

Last year, more than 33,000 contributors from 108 countries contributed to the fund, called “Let’s Build a Goddamn Tesla Museum.” The online fundraiser was featured by the creator of the popular webcomic The Oatmeal, Matthew Inman, who encouraged his fans to donate.

Mr. Tesla, a rival of Thomas Edison and a pioneer in the use of alternating current, conducted experiments at the Wardenclyffe laboratory, built in 1901, in hopes of providing free, wireless electricity to the world.

The tower designed to provide the electrical energy was torn down in 1917 and, after Mr. Tesla’s death, the property was later leased to a photography company, which dumped waste on the land. Wardenclyffe was later purchased by an imaging company, which sold the 16-acre property for $850,000 last Thursday, Ms. Alcorn said.

A reimbursement grant from New York State will cover the full cost of the purchase, allowing the remaining funds to go toward clearing the property and beginning construction of the science center and museum, Ms. Alcorn said.

The group announced the purchase at a press conference at the New Yorker Hotel last Thursday, as the audience gave a standing ovation and cheered.

Among the biggest contributors to the cause was Joseph Sikorski, a local filmmaker who plans to produce a film about Tesla’s work called “Fragments from Olympus.”

Mr. Sikorski and his film crew donated $33,333, all the production’s seed money, during the online fundraiser. He is now working on a documentary about the efforts to save Wardenclyffe, called “Tower to the People.”

Mr. Sikorski thanked those gathered at the press conference for their support, praised Mr. Inman for making the comic that raised awareness of fundraiser and jokingly kissed the larger-than-life cardboard cutout of Mr. Tesla on the shoulder.

“It’s a very happy day today, but it’s very important to understand it’s just a beginning,” he said. “Wardenclyffe really needs a lot of restoration, a lot of TLC.”

Over the next few months, the group will clean up the site and preserve Tesla’s existing lab, Ms. Alcorn said, adding that they will need the continued support of Tesla admirers to build the science center.

The group has allowed the Suffolk County Police K-9 unit to train their dogs on the property, which Ms. Alcorn said gives the site much-need security. The group plans to determine which structures, in addition, to the lab can be rehabilitated and which must be torn down.

After the site is cleared, the nonprofit will organize volunteers to help rake the property and mulch flower beds.

Ms. Alcorn expects the full project will cost about $10 million, and she is hopeful that businesses will step forward to donate.

“We have an enormous task ahead of us,” she said.

[email protected]

08/24/12 6:00pm
08/24/2012 6:00 PM

COURTSEY PHOTO | The Wardenclyffe laboratory in Shoreham was built in 1901 by renowned architect Stanford White.

An online fundraising drive just launched to help a nonprofit group purchase the property around the former Tesla laboratory in Shoreham raised nearly $1 million after just six days.

Tesla Wardenclyffe Project, Inc. Courtesy Photo Nikola tesla

Tesla Wardenclyffe Project, Inc. Courtesy Photo
Nikola tesla

That figure is good enough to have already passed the group’s goal.

The campaign, called “Let’s Build a Goddamn Tesla Museum,” was organized in part by Matthew Inman, an artist who runs the popular webcomic “The Oatmeal.”

According to the fundraiser’s website, Mr. Inman hoped to raise $850,000, enough money to trigger a New York State grant that would add enough funds to purchase the roughly 16-acre property — currently listed at $1.6 million — to turn it into a museum dedicated to famed inventor Nikola Tesla.

As of Aug. 23, the campaign has raised more than $980,000 for the nonprofit.

Mr. Tesla, a contemporary rival of Thomas Edison and a pioneer in the use of alternating current, radio, and x-rays, conducted experiments at the Wardenclyffe laboratory, which was built in 1901 in Shoreham.

The property was leased to a photography company years after Mr. Tesla’s death. That company dumped waste on the property. Wardenclyffe was later purchased by an imaging company that is trying to sell the land.

Read the full story here