This article was motivation to save Camp Evans. With all the amazing history the site held, saving it to reuse it as a science-history center was the right thing to do. Dr. Harold Zahl was a radar pioneer who wrote about the connections between Marconi and the early days of radar development. Thanks to the writings of Dr. Zahl, Fred Carl learned about the basics of Camp Evans while researching shipwrecks off the New Jersey Coast. Fred began an effort to save the site for future generations to use the history to inspire them to learn science and the history of science. Thank you Suzanne for this article.
Published in The Asbury Park Press on March 13, 1993
*The somewhat obscure Camp Evans, an Army radiation testing facility on the edge of Wall Township, is recommended for closure.
By SUZANNE DELCAMP
PRESS STAFF WRITER
CAMP EVANS – The name Camp Evans doesn’t score very high on the household recognition scale.
Nor is it likely to in the future. The 218-acre satellite of Fort Monmouth, located on the edge of Wall Township near the Shark River, is among those military installations recommended for closure.
If the proposal comes to fruition, employees there will be shifted to the fort’s main campus and the tract will be sold.
Camp Evans is the home of the radiation testing facility operated by the Army’s communications-Electronics Command Center for Electronic Warfare, Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Target Acquisition.
But while the 51-year-old facility isn’t exactly a household name among area residents – partially because it isn’t the easiest place in the world to find, its entrance marked by a rather benign sign along Route 18 reading Evans Area – it isn’t unremarkable, either. The property has been used for radio-related purposes for almost a century, initially being purchased by the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Co. of America for use as a transatlantic wireless telegraphy center.
Guglielmo Marconi, the inventor of wireless telegraphy, built a two-story, 1,800-square-foot brick house on the grounds, which was used to house company personnel.
The home and a larger headquarters building were sold to the Ku Klux Klan in the late 1920s. The Klan used the site as its state headquarters until 1937, when the Rev. Percy Crawford, a Protestant evangelist from Philadelphia, bought the tract for a school, which he called King’s College.
In November 1941, the Army acquired the property and named it. Though there are those who believe the area was named after a former Klan Grand Wizard whose name was Evans, the site actually is named after renowned World War I signal officer, Col. Paul Wesley Evans.
One of the most notable points in the camp’s history came oh Jan. 10, 1946, when Signal Corps’ scientists succeeded in reflecting electronic pulses off the moon using a specifically designed radar set, which they christened the Diana Tower. The event was a major advance in communications technology, because before that point scientists were not even sure radio messages could be sent through space. The event paved the way for satellite communications.
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