from the Long Island Press:
The ground is overgrown, the pavement cracked, the windows boarded up and the doors are all locked. It’s one of the most toxic sites in Suffolk County—a blighted brownfield along 25A in Shoreham—yet once held out the promise of something so revolutionary it could have changed the course of civilization. The place is not much to look at today. But it was here in 1901 that Nikola Tesla, one of the most visionary scientists the world has ever known—whose gifts to humankind include AC current, robotics, fluorescent lighting and the bladeless turbine (to name a view)—undertook what was going to be his greatest ambition, and ultimately became his greatest failure: the wireless transmission of electric power to anywhere on Earth. Power he was going to give away, literally. For free.
Here, Tesla’s creation and its secrets rot, neglected, in an abandoned lot behind a barbed-wire fence obscured by weeds, right here on Long Island. Soon, however, they may be gone forever.
“This is his last standing lab in the world,” says Assemb. Marc Alessi (D-Shoreham). “It’s not just a Long Island landmark or even a national landmark. This is a world-wide historic site because this man has contributed so much to the progress of mankind.”
By the end of this month more than a dozen soil samples will be taken from a Superfund site in Shoreham and given to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Once the tests are completed and no further signs of contamination are found, the DEC can finally clear the 16 acres for sale. The former industrial property, where photo products were manufactured from 1939 until 1987, is now zoned for 2-acre housing. The Agfa Corporation’s current asking price is $1.65 million, but it’s negotiable, the company says. What’s not negotiable is that it must be sold. Donating it to a not-for-profit group is out of the question.
For lifelong admirers of Tesla like myself, this is some very sad news. Wardenclyffe was always a sort of mythical electric temple, complete with obelisk. The prospect of using it for “housing” — such a humorless word — is discouraging. The museum idea is certainly better, but I’d prefer to see it turned into a living hacker space.
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