Nikola Tesla Wardenclyffe Lab to Receive World Historic Site Designation

tesla science center
Nikola Tesla, left, and Wardenclyffe Laboratory and Tower in Shoreham. The tower has since been demolished, but the lab still stands.

The Tesla Museum and Science Center at Wardenclyffe is still a year away from opening to the public but Nikola Tesla’s last remaining science lab in the world will get a much-welcomed historical recognition this weekend.

On Sunday, the American Physical Society (APS) will present a plaque declaring Wardenclyffe in Shoreham a world historic site, honoring its role in raising awareness of physics, commemorating past scientific progress, and paying homage to Tesla’s incomparable achievements.

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Tesla, whose groundbreaking work in the field of electricity once landed him on the cover of Time magazine, spent much of his career at various laboratories through the US, but the building in Wardenclyffe is the last of his labs that still stands. From there he hoped to send free electrical power to the world. But it was not to be.

The APS’ plaque presentation is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Sunday. The APS is headquartered in Maryland and has an office in Ridge.

Renovations to Tesla’s dilapidated lab are still in the beginning stages, said Marc Alessi, executive director of the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe, a nonprofit organization that acquired the site after it was slated to be sold to developers.

The organization, which is committed to redeveloping the lab and reintroducing Tesla’s work to the public, is hoping to open two buildings by January 2018, said Alessi, a former New York State Assemblyman. The Tesla Science Center raised $850,000 three years ago to purchase the former Superfund site from Agfa Corporation.

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The center is currently awaiting permits by the Town of Brookhaven, which should be approved in time for crews to begin construction next spring.

The plan is to complete the welcome center first before renovating the former administration building, which was originally designed for Tesla by the famed architect Standford White. The welcome center will be home to administrative offices, exhibits and a small space for meetings or special programs.

Given the laboratory’s historic status, it will take several more years for that building to be restored. It was in total disrepair before the nonprofit stepped in to save it. The lab’s iconic tower, once visible across the Sound, has long since been demolished.

As the center begins its long-awaited reconstruction, it will continue to raise money toward the effort. To date, the organization has gotten about $3.5 million in donations and grants. Among the contributors is Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors and rocket company SpaceX, who two years ago pledged $1 million toward the rebuild.

Tesla’s lab was designated a historic landmark by Brookhaven Town in 2014.