Wardenclyffe plant designed by architect Stanford White
Back in 1898 Nikola Tesla (father of wireless power, alternating current and pretty much everything else electronic) wanted to provide wireless power to the world and began planning the construction of the Wardenclyffe facility located in Shoreham Long Island, New York. Construction of the plant began in 1901 (with an initial grant from lawyer/banker James S. Warden) and was funded by industrialists, venture capitalists and a sizable sum of $150,000 US from J.P. Morgan. During construction, Tesla began moving his lab equipment from his Houston Street facility over to Wardenclyffe where construction costs began to take their toll. In an effort to garner more funds to off-set the cost of construction, Tesla again asked J.P. Morgan for additional funding. When asked where the original funds went, Tesla replied that additional funding was needed because of the stock market panic of 1901 which was caused by bankers (J.P. Morgan played a key role) trying to gain financial control over the Northern Pacific Railway. Morgan refused over several reasons, with one being a rumor that wireless power couldn’t be metered and therefore couldn’t provide financial gain for the plants backers. Morgan eventually terminated his relationship with Tesla and encouraged others funding the project to do the same, which halted construction altogether and the plant was never finished.
The Wardenclyffe site was eventually turned over to George Boldt of the Waldorf-Astoria hotel (where tesla would eventually live till his death in 1943) where the plant would fall into disarray over time. In 1907, the tower (not the building) was destroyed with dynamite by the US Marines fearing that German spies were somehow using it to transmit secret messages as well as a landmark to guide German submarines. Over the years, various preservation institutions looked to make the plant a historic site (which never happened) and in 1976 the Yougoslavian Nation sent a plaque commemorating the 120th year of Tesla’s birth which was installed on the site by the Brookhaven National Laboratory (the plaque was stolen in 2009). It seemed that every effort to preserve the site has failed in one way or another, and it’s the hope of a new non-profit fundraiser group, led by Mathew Inman of The Oatmeal website, to finally overturn the sites bad luck to get it preserved and eventually turn it into a museum honoring the late inventor.
Inman, along with his accomplice jalcorn, have currently took their endeavour in creating a Tesla Museum on the Wargenclyffe site by posting their project on indiegogo in the hopes of raising 1.6 million US to purchase the property. The fundraisers stated that if they can raise $850,000 US then the state of New York will match their goal, which would give the pair 1.7 million in funds to get the museum started. After only 7 days of being listed on the "indigogo" website the group was able to surpass their initial goal and raised over $900,000 US with 39 days left to garner additional funding! The group states the funds will go to purchasing the property with the left-over funding going to grounds clean-up and restoration of the plant turning it into the Nikola Tesla Science Center (museum) which, the group states will be forever preserved as a historical site. Actually, it will be the first Nikola Tesla museum in the US with the only other museum devoted to the inventor being in Belgrade, Serbial (which holds over 160,000 of Tesla’s original documents).