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Sesquicentennial Minute: Nikola Tesla’s Colorado Springs lab may have paved way for wireless technology

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.

Josh Helmuth

Josh is an anchor for Good Morning Colorado. Learn more about Josh here.



  1. No, his experiments DID lead to wireless technology, along with our power grid. The dude was a legend and just as ecentric. If he only had access to our technology now!

    Fun Fact: Nikola’s most prized possession was his American citizenship certificate.

    1. Utter hogwash. It is generally recognized that the first radio transmission was made from a temporary station set up by Guglielmo Marconi in 1895 on the Isle of Wight, four years before Tesla’s experiments in Colorado Springs.
      Make no mistake, Tesla did do some great research, but he certainly was not the creator of wireless technology, nor did Al Gore invent the Internet.

      1. Guglielmo Marconi didn’t go to the UK until 1896.
        And as Mikey said, Tesla was trying to develop wireless power transmission, not wireless telegraphy, which was Marconi’s primary focus.

    2. What Tesla was trying to do, when he burned down the local power station, was to find a way to deliver regular electrical power to people’s homes via the air.

  2. Might also want to include that he caused a power outage in Colorado Springs during one of his experiments: “While experimenting, Tesla inadvertently faulted a power station generator, causing a power outage. In August 1917, Tesla explained what had happened in The Electrical Experimenter: “As an example of what has been done with several hundred kilowatts of high frequency energy liberated, it was found that the dynamos in a power house 6 miles (10 km) away were repeatedly burned out, due to the powerful high frequency currents set up in them, and which caused heavy sparks to jump through the windings and destroy the insulation!” (Wikipedia)
    He was a genius, and I wish he had succeeded over Edison; our power could be amazing.

  3. ooohhh they deleted another comment of mine here which was really just about tesla.

    1. Stop playing the victim role when you’re actually on a level playing field with the rest of us who are losing innocent comments.

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