07/2010: The Edison Memorial Tower Corporation has developed conceptual plans for the “reinvention” of Menlo Park. The reinvention includes restoration of the Edison Memorial Tower, construction of a new museum about the site’s history as well as the theme of invention, outdoor interpretive exhibits, and a redone Edison State Park. The museum is currently closed for renovations but plans to reopen in September of 2010.
Erected in 1937 on the site of Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park Laboratory, the 131-foot tall cast concrete art deco structure has been closed to the public for several years. Because of falling concrete, a fence has been erected to keep visitors from getting too close to this somewhat obscure but extremely important monument.
Governor line item vetoed money for its restoration. The structure was cleaned and painted in 1999, but restoration work remains. New friends group has been founded. 12/17/03 The Tower continues to deteriorate and is in extremely poor condition.Barriers were installed to keep tourists away from the promenade at the base of the structure. The township of Edison financed an engineering study on the tower, which revealed extensive damages and continued deterioration. No action has been taken yet.
-plans for a whole new museum and site based on the tower
-plans for archeological work on the site; 3/01; by Dr. Richard Veit; Monmouth
131-foot tower erected on site of Edison’s lab (1876-86); art deco style with precast concrete panels by John J. Earley
1993 closed to public; crumbling concrete
95 Trust grant; terminated because they didn’t raise the match
98 Whitman line item vetoed $787,000 for restoration
In 1999 the structure was cleaned up and painted but it is badly in need of a total restoration, Museum is open and tower is lit (13 foot light bulb)
Friends group is Edison Pioneers
In Nov. 2004, a $50,000 NJ Historic Trust grant was made for its restoration. 09 06 The DEP has awarded $1.8 million grant for the restoration of the Edison Memorial Tower, which was on PNJ’s Endangered Sites List in 1997. According to Nancy Zerbe, the chair of the Edison Memorial Tower Corp, the non-profit group that works with Edison Township to manage the site, the money will be spent primarily on repair and restoration. The group is also looking at creating an educational facility or museum. Edison Township has launched a private fundraising campaign to raise $379,000 to be used for restoration and preservation activities for the Tower.
Nancy Zerbe, President
Edison Memorial Tower Corp