Niagara Gazette

Columns

October 16, 2012

BRADBERRY: Tesla, Tubman and we deserve better

Niagara Gazette — Genius inventor Nikola Tesla, and Underground Railroad pioneer Harriett Tubman each made world changing history, its time their contributions are more visibly recognized right here in Niagara Falls.

I don’t remember the first time I heard about either one of them, it was probably some time while I was in grade school, unable to fully comprehend who they were, what they accomplished, and that much of what they did actually happened right here within walking distance of my own backyard.

Over the past few years, my steadily growing interests in these two giant characters has led me to realize that in spite of their world-wide fame and instant name recognition, there is little trace of their existence here in one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world where some of their most important achievements took place in, around and because of the mighty Niagara.

This has led me to wonder what we might do to change that and what benefit might we and our guests derive by doing so.

I should admit for the record, that I am somewhat biased by the fact that as a chronic history buff, a committed historic preservationist, and an avid public art advocate, I believe that one of the keys to this city’s future lies in her spectacular past; that we can and should, at least in part, rebuild our city and the region’s future on the shoulders of our fascinating history.

I was reminded again the other day when the History Channel re-ran one of their Modern Marvels episodes that originally ran in May of 2008 called Mad Electricity, a captivating examination of Tesla.

Often referred to as the “father of the 20th century because of his amazing discoveries, inventions and sometimes frightening vision of the future, Tesla is best known for his contributions to the design of the alternating current.”

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