EDISON MEMORIAL TOWER RELIGHTING SET FOR SATURDAY, OCTOBER 24
AT THOMAS EDISON STATE PARK IN MIDDLESEX COUNTY
DAYLONG EVENT CULMINATES COMPLETION OF A NEARLY $3.9 MILLION
RESTORATION PROJECT, HONORS FAMED NEW JERSEY INVENTOR
(15/P94) TRENTON – The Edison Memorial Tower will shine brightly again Saturday, October 24, when the iconic structure is relighted to commemorate completion of a nearly $3.9 million restoration project, Commissioner Bob Martin announced today.
The Board of Trustees of the Thomas Edison Center at Menlo Park will host the relighting of the 77-year-old tower that dominates Thomas Edison State Park at 7 p.m. The relighting will cap off a day of activities starting at noon that will feature demonstrations of contemporary science and technology, showcase the inventions of Thomas Alva Edison in the renovated museum on the grounds, and feature a Thomas Edison impersonator, to provide some historic flair to the event.
A ribbon cutting at the tower, 37 Christie Street, in Edison Township, is also scheduled at 12:30 p.m.
“Completion of this project is part of the Christie Administration’s continuing efforts to protect New Jersey’s natural and historic resources,” said DEP Commissioner Bob Martin. “The relighting of the Edison Memorial Tower reminds us all that New Jersey is the birthplace of some of the most important inventions in history, and we are delighted that this long-awaited restoration work is complete.”
The relighting event culminates years of planning and restoration to the Art Deco monument by the Department of Environmental Protection. A combination of State Corporate Business Tax and Capital Funds totaling more than $3.5 million, and a $375,000 Middlesex County grant on behalf of Edison Township funded the project.
Completed work includes the restoration and replacement of mosaic panels, cleaning of the tower, sealing of all joints, repair or replacement of all drains, restoration of the monumental Pyrex glass light bulb atop the tower, and restoration of the lighting system to include energy-efficient lighting. An interior access system was also constructed, while the tower’s Eternal Light room and terrace were also restored.
In addition to making the structure safer, work on the tower included cleaning and restoring the exposed aggregate concrete; replacement of the speaker system; restoration of the bronze door and plaques around the perimeter of the tower base; and restoration of the stone plaza surrounding the tower.
“This project highlights our commitment to New Jersey’s historical treasures as well as the global importance of Thomas Edison’s contributions to mankind,” said Richard Boornazian, DEP’s Assistant Commissioner for Natural and Historic Resources. “We are fortunate that a collaborative effort and partnership made this project possible, and hope the public will join us Saturday to light the structure that is a beacon to Edison’s successes.”
Edison Township Mayor Thomas Lankey praised the generosity and partnership of the State of New Jersey, the Middlesex County Board of Freeholders, the township and a variety of benefactors for making the project a reality.
“Once listed among New Jersey’s 10 Most Endangered Historic Sites, the Edison Memorial Tower has been returned to its Art Deco brilliance,” Lankey said. “It is a proud moment to science, innovation, creativity, ingenuity and history.”
The Edison Memorial Tower is within the 36-acre Edison State Park, which is jointly administered by the DEP, Edison Township and the Edison Memorial Tower Corporation. The park’s historic elements, known collectively as the Thomas Edison Center at Menlo Park, include the Memorial Tower, several smaller commemorative monuments, a museum devoted to Thomas Edison, and the foundations of some of Edison’s original laboratory buildings.
The tower, listed on the New Jersey and National Register of Historic Places, was built in 1937-1938 at the site of Edison’s Menlo Park laboratory, where the inventor established the world’s first organized research and development laboratory, perfected the incandescent lamp, developed a complete system for generating and distributing electric current, and invented the phonograph.
Built six years after Edison’s death, the tower honors both Edison and his accomplishments at Menlo Park. In addition, the tower serves as the symbol for Edison Township, which adopted that name in 1954 to honor its most famous resident.
“We are very proud that the symbol of our town has been restored to its original brilliance for future generations to enjoy, and to understand the legacy that the ‘Wizard of Menlo Park’ Thomas Edison has left for us,” said Leonard D. Sendelsky, Chairman of the Thomas Edison Center at Menlo Park.
The relighting ceremony will also serve as a kickoff to a fundraising campaign for a larger museum/education center that will accommodate and create new programs.
Mills + Schnoering Architects, LLC of Princeton, handled the project’s architectural management. Hilt Construction of Hillsborough did the historic restoration work.
For more information on the Thomas Edison Center at Menlo Park, visit: www.menloparkmuseum.org/