By JOHN A. HARNES
The Asbury Park Press
COASTAL MONMOUTH BUREAU
Saturday, December 25, 1999,Page D1.
A Neptune resident’s model of the Marconi Hotel on the Camp Evans property is hanging on a White House Christmas tree recognizing sites of historic importance.
NEPTUNE – Creating a 1/250th scale model of the historic Marconi Hotel was a labor of love for Neptune resident Bob Judge.
Now his creation, decorating a Christmas tree in the East Wing of the White House, represents a piece of New Jersey history.
Judge was asked by the White House Millennium Council to create the replica – about 6 inches long by 3 inches wide as a way of commemorating the Save America’s Treasures program. The program is a partnership between the council and the National Millennium Commemoration to help preserve sites of historic importance.
Judge said it took about 60 hours to conduct his research on the hotel, built by Guglielmo Marconi, the inventor of the wireless telegraph. Marconi purchased the Wall property in 1913 to serve as the headquarters of his pioneering radio communications company. The site eventually become part of the Army’s Camp Evans complex, now being turned over for civilian use.
“The Marconi Hotel is the most recognizable landmark on the Camp Evans property,” Judge said. “It’s also one of the three original Marconi-built buildings on the site that are still standing.”
The Marconi site was added to the Save America’s Treasures program earlier this year, and each ornament on the White House tree represents a project in the program. While being named a Save America’s Treasures project does not provide direct funding, it is a step toward becoming eligible for future grants.
Creating the replica had special meaning for Judge, who is the assistant director of the InfoAge Science Learning Center being established at the Marconi Hotel and adjoining buildings at Camp Evans
For 86 years, until it was closed in 1993, Camp Evans served as one of the most important sites in the world for telecommunications research and development. The site was closed as part of the post-Cold War effort to streamline the military, and the Army has been cleaning up the site for transfer to public and educational use.
As the land at Camp Evans is being transferred from the Army to civilian use, it’s important to preserve some of the historic work that was done at the site, said Fred Carl, director of INFOAGE Inc., a not-for-profit
corporation that is working to establish the center.
Mr. Carl noted that there are several sites in New Jersey which have been placed on the historic list, including the Edison site.
While Camp Evans was named to the list in June, this nomination only guarantees that the camp will be eligible to receive grants, explains Mr. Carl.
The Marconi Hotel was completed in 1914, under the direction of the founder of Camp Evans, 1909 Noble Prize Winner for physics Guglielmo Marconi.
The Marconi facility in Wall is where the radio genius built his 300 foot tall radio towers which enabled the first international commercial radio transmissions. The Marconi Hotel was initially used to house radio researchers.
During WWI, the Navy took over the base and in 1919 Woodrow Wilson’s terms for peace, which put an end to the Great War, were transmitted from the camp to Europe.
The Marconi Hotel changed hands many times before it became the property of the Army during WWII, and has remained in the Army’s hands up until the present day.
The camp also served as the headquarters for the KKK, The King Christian College and home to radio preacher Percy Crawford.
Radio, radar, transistors and space age research all owe at least a portion of their advances to the work performed at Camp Evans, explained Mr. Carl.
The Marconi Hotel is projected to become the main entrance to the interconnected buildings which will provide room for current and future needs, according to Mr, Carl.
Under the current plans for the future of Camp Evans, the deactivated base will be turned over to Wall Township, except for 60 to 70 of its center acres where the buildings are. That parcel will be utilized by Brookdale Community College.
The Army is expected to complete its environmental clean-up of the property and convey the property to Wall Township by January, early February, of next year.
Carl said his group wants to create a hands-on science center where visitors can experience the excitement of electronic, communication, computer, radio, radar, satellite, telephone science and technology, while having fun.
For Judge, creating a replica of the building he has come to care so much about also brought excitement and fun. Judge, who worked in advertising for the Asbury Park Press for about 40 years before retiring in 1998, has been building miniature railroads and circuses
for more than four decades. “I was born a boy. Aren’t all boys interested in trains?”
Judge is a charter member of the Garden State Central Model Railroad Club, which was started in 1963 and has been in Asbury Park since 1973. When making a model, he uses a scale ruler, two or three different types of glues, a sharp knife, plenty of styrene plastic, some wood, and water based paint – along with a lot of patience.
He attended the Dec. 17 ceremony in Washington that saw his ornament put on the White House tree. Next up is a project for his railroad club. He is reproducing Tower A, a building that was once part of the Jersey City train yards, at 1/8 scale.
“The problem when you try to produce some ofthese things is t the building is no longer the Judge said. “You have to do historical research to get photos and plans.”
“In this case no one can tell the exact color of the brick,” he said. “It wasn’t red. The people I talked to say it had a brown tint. All the photographs are in black and white.” .
Anyone interested in learn more about the InfoAge Science Learning Center can write to: InfoAge Science Learning Center 2201 Marconi Road, Wall, NJ 0771
Page created December 30, 1999