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$874G raised to buy Tesla's Shoreham land

Nikola Tesla's Colorado Springs laboratory in 1899.

Nikola Tesla's Colorado Springs laboratory in 1899. Credit: Nikola Tesla Museum

Nikola Tesla enthusiasts whose campaign to buy the Shoreham property where the eccentric scientist once labored received a lightning bolt's worth of funding Tuesday -- moving them closer to their goal of buying the property and converting it to a museum.

"We hit our goal about two or three hours ago," said Matthew Inman, an Internet cartoonist who runs the popular The Oatmeal blog.

"We're at about $874,000," he said, adding, "It's very, very cool."

Last Wednesday, Inman, 29, joined the campaign to raise $850,000 to purchase Tesla's former laboratory, called Wardenclyffe, which is located on Route 25A in Shoreham. The Tesla fan launched an online fundraiser on his site called "Operation Let's Build a Goddamn Tesla Museum."

The response was overwhelming. By Friday, the site had raised $530,000. The other $344,000 came in by early Tuesday evening, fueled in part by two jolts of $33,333.00.

Tesla, who invented major components of modern radio and electricity, was also a fan of the number 3, said Inman, who promised to feature those donors on his website.

"It's amazing," Inman said. "I didn't expect this to happen so fast."

Inman's campaign brought new life to efforts by the Shoreham nonprofit Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe, which has spent years trying to raise money to buy the $1.6 million property.

Wardenclyffe, built in 1903, was designed by Tesla's friend, the famed architect Stanford White. Tesla left Wardenclyffe in 1915, and for decades a photo-processing plant operated in the lab's main building.

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