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There been a huge resurgence of interest in the legacy of inventor and engineer Nikola Tesla in recent years. Locally, renewed interest has been sparked by this year’s All Pikes Peak Reads on the theme of “Innovation” and the fact that Tesla conducted some of his most ambitious experiments in Colorado Springs.
Known as the father of electrical engineering, Tesla brought us everything from alternating current to wireless communication (radio, the remote control, etc.). Tesla also spent part of 1899 living in Colorado Springs at the Alta Vista Hotel (since demolished) and working in a laboratory he constructed near Memorial Park just north of the School for the Deaf and Blind, which was, at the time, outside the city limits. Though Tesla claimed to have been working on experiments in wireless communications at that time, he was secretly working on experiments in the wireless transmission of “geo-electrical” signals through the ground—something he believed would eventually allow anyone on earth to simply tap into the ground to receive free, unlimited amounts of electricity.
Two local authors—Inez Hunt and Wanetta Draper—wrote a biography of Tesla in 1966 (pictured above and available at the Library as part of All Pikes Peak Reads and at I Am Nikola Tesla, a play about the inventor’s time in Colorado Springs, which opens at Theatreworks tonight.
Finally, The Pikes Peak Library District has produced this excellent mini-documentary Tracing Tesla: The Search for His Lost Laboratory, which uses the search for the location of his Colorado Springs lab as a framework for exploring his life and time here in Colorado Springs.