"Wall Township - History for the World to Hear" Belmar by KiKitC

Belmar Travel Guide: 8 reviews and 12 photos

Belmar - Beaches and Fun

Belmar sits adjacent to Wall Township, sitting between the beautiful Shark River basin and the Atlantic Ocean. Summertime on the beaches, and year round marinas make Belmar a fun place to explore.

Along the shores of the Shark River, history was made...developed...and remade.

Can You Hear Me Now?

I grew up in Wall Township, and knew about Camp Evans area as a military installation of Fort Monmouth and never knew of the great history here. With military restructuring in the past decade, this site was soon to be put to pasture. Until local historians fought to keep this historic place on the map and got it added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2002.

In 1914, Guglielmo Marconi constructed a wireless communications station here, for the purposes of commercial wireless communications. The first trans-oceanic wireless communication was received here. The American Marconi Wireless Company built a 45 room hotel to house its employees, and erected six 500 foot radio towers as part of the permanent commercial transmitting and receiving station. A part of the original tower is displyed on one of the original sites of the towers along Marconi Road.

The Navy took commission of the station during World War I, as a base for trans-Atlantic communication. The military data sent and received here played a vital role in the war effort. When World War I ended, the Navy returned the site to Marconi, whose company had changed its name to Radio Corporation of America (RCA). The need for the strategically placed wireless station was no longer a priority of Marconi's business, and by 1924 the site had been abandoned.

During the following years, the buildings were used as a meeting place for the Monmouth Social Club of the Ku Klux Klan, and the grounds for King’s College.

Just before the United States entered World War II, this research facility once again became a military installation for Signal Corps. In 1942, this installation was rebuilt and named Camp Evans after Lt. Col. Paul W. Evans, a pioneer in the growth of the Signal Corps.

The research done at Camp Evans during World War II developed the single most important technological advantage that turned the war towards the Allied - RADAR. Radar used to detect aircraft, submarines and ground units was developed, tested and perfected here. Another technological invention developed here was the proximity fuse, which controls explosion timing.

This site again "made the radar" on January 10, 1946, when the Diana Tower Project sent the first radar signal to the moon and back. The Diana Tower still stands, but the original dish has been replaced, as the tower was subsequently used for advancement in meteorological radar systems.

We were taking pictures of the Camp Evans sign when we ran into Stephen Goulart of Infoage, the Information Age Science and History Learning Center. Just weeks ago, Infoage was given the keys to the newly demilitarized site, as a place to house military and technology museums and research centers. Stephen gave us an impromptu, all access tour.

Infoage has renovated the historic Marconi Hotel to house the Military Technology Museum of New Jersey, the Garden State Central Model Railroad Club and Exhibit, the NJ Historic Divers Association's Historical Shipwreck Museum (which isn't open yet, but amazing...thank you Dan Lieb), a fascinating exhibit about lunar module communications, including the actual "processor" for the Apollo 14 capsule computer (thank you Frank O'Brien) and the hall can be rented out for special occassions.

Another of the demilitarized buildings now houses the National Broadcasters Hall of Fame and the Radio Technology Museum. Future renovations of larger buildings will include an extension of the Military Technology Museum, with over 50 restored military vehicles.

Presently, Camp Evans is open Sundays 1 - 4 pm, or for arranged tours. Can't thank Stephen enough for the tour. Everyone is so kowledgeable and kids will learn so much from their exhibits.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Where it all began...
  • Cons:Never knew the history of my backyard...
  • In a nutshell:InfoAge has turned Camp Evans into an amazing portrait of history.
  • Last visit to Belmar: Apr 2008
  • Intro Updated Apr 12, 2009
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KiKitC Used To Live Here!

KiKitC

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