Nikola Tesla spent just months in Colorado Springs in 1899. But during that short time, the legendary scientist may have started the first crucial experiments towards what would become all the wireless technology we use in 2021.
But why Colorado Springs? Tesla was fascinated with lightning and wanted to see much of it for his experiments.
"He studied how he could see lightning and coming and still feel it after it left and he was interested in the wireless transmission of energy," said Leah Witherow, curator of the Pioneers Museum.
Tesla predicted, through his Colorado Springs lab experiments, that he could eventually be able to send a wireless message from the top of Pikes Peak to Paris. Unfortunately, he left town before he got that chance.
"Once he was satisfied that he had enough information, that his work here was done, he left his laboratory, headed off to New York where he was building a brand new building in Wardenclyffe and never returned," said Witherow.
Tesla’s lab, which stood in the current day Knob Hill neighborhood on North Foote Avenue across from Memorial Park, was eventually dismantled and sold to pay his debts. The only mention of Tesla in the area today is an honorary plaque located in the park along Pikes Peak Avenue.
Sesquicentennial Minute is a summer series produced by KRDO's Josh Helmuth leading up to Colorado Springs' 150th birthday this July 31, 2021.