Published in The Asbury Park Press March 30, 2002

Page B1, cont. B2


Army site to divulge its science secrets

By JOHN A. HARNES
COASTAL MONMOUTH BUREAU

An old piece of testing equipment and photographs (above) are among the items the nonprofit, civilian company INFOAGE Inc. is displaying at Camp Evans,the former hush-hush Army site in Wall where radar was developed. One camp building is the Marconi Hotel (left), named for wireless telegraph inventor Guglielmo Marconi. The science history center includes a World War II Japanese telephone (bottom left) and a 1980s mainframe memory module (below) in its exhibits. Photos by JOSEPH J. DELCONZO Special to the Press

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Camp Evans was once among the nation’s most guarded and secret sites, the place where radar was developed for use by America’s military beginning just before World War II.
Well, Camp Evans in Wall may still seem a secret to many, but as theArmy turns over this former military site for civilian use in the months ahead, the members of INFOAGE Inc., a nonprofit corporation, hope to preserve the memory of the events that made technological history here.
“This historic value of the site is beyond question,” said Fred Carl, director of INFOAGE.
“Our goal is to save Camp Evans and creatively reuse the historic buildings and grounds as
a science history center focused on communications, computer, radio technology and radio entertainment history,” Carl said .
Earlier this week, the paperwork was finished, and the 37-acre historic district at Camp Evans was added to the National Register of Historic Places, the federal list of the nation’s historic sites worthy of preservation .
“This is great to be on the national register, and it’s been a long time coming,” said INFOAGE
member Michael T. Ruane, the former base transition Coordinator. Ruane worked for the Army to clean Camp Evans of various toxins, including mercury, so that the land could be transferred safely to civilian use.
The members of INFOAGE have been busy putting together their collection. This includes the National Broadcasters Hall of Fame and more than 7,000 pieces of computer history.
Carl said the collection includes select parts from the first digital computer, which was made during World War II many other early computers and hundreds of examples of technology improvements over the last 40 years.
Henry Kearney, Fort Monmouth spokesman, said the historic district of the Evans Area will be transferred to Wall, through the federal Department of the Interior, as two parcels. The first parcel should be transferred this summer, and the second parcel in spring 2003.
“After the Army assigns the property to Interior, it may take a few more months to complete the final transfer to Wall Township,” Kearney said. Also, Wall must apply to the Interior Department for use of the historic property and have its application approved before the Army can complete the transfer.
“The people of the United States and the Armed Forces will forever be indebted to Camp Evans for the contributions made by its scientists and engineers in the emergence of today’s technology revolution,”  said Richard Bingham, CECOM and Fort Monmouth historian.
Guglielmo Marconi, the Italian electrical-engineering pioneer who invented the wireless telegraph, and his company, Marconi American Wireless Co., acquired the site that was used from 1912 to 1926 as the Marconi Wireless Station.The Army acquired the site in 1941, and Fort Monmouth’s radar laboratories were moved into the old buildings that served the wireless station. The radar equipment designed and tested there was in use from the first minutes of World War II.
For example, it was a radar unit designed by camp engineers that spotted the enemy planes 50 minutes before the Pearl Harbor attack
Camp Evans engineers sparked the imagination of the world and set people’s sights on space exploration on Jan. 10, 1946, when they used the Diana Radar to bounce a radar signal off the moon, proving that radio communication from Earth to space was possible.
From the 1950s to the 1980s, Camp Evans designed equipment The Army acquired the site in 1941, and Fort Monmouth’s radar laboratories were moved into the old buildings that served the wireless station. The radar equipment designed and tested there was in use from the first minutes of World War II.
For example, it was a radar unit designed by camp engineers that spotted the enemy planes 50 minutes before the Pearl Harbor attack
Camp Evans engineers sparked the imagination of the world and set people’s sights on space exploration on Jan. 10, 1946, when they used the Diana Radar to bounce a radar signal off the moon, proving that radio communication from Earth to space was possible.
From the 1950s to the 1980s, Camp Evans designed equipment was used in Korea, Vietnam, the Cold War, space exploration and Desert Storm.      Kearney said the Army Communications-Electronics Command’s Research Development and Engi- neering Center Outreach Program has been working closely with INFOAGE and has surveyed the wealth of science and math related information accumulated by the center.
“As a result, the curriculum for this year’s Fort Monmouth math and science summer camps for high school students will be extracted from some of those educational resources,” Kearney said .
INFOAGE has actually opened inside one of the historic buildings at 2201 Marconi Road, directly across the street from the old Marconi Hotel.  Carl is trying to have this building open to the public from 1 to 3 p.m. on Sundays, but it will be closed tomorrow.
When all the historic buildings are available, INFOAGE will have about 180,000 square feet of space, with more than 100,000 square feet of it for exhibits
Anyone interested in learning more, or becoming a volunteer, can call INFOAGE at (732) 280-3000.

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