Former Secret Monmouth Military Base Gains a National Designation
The science and technology history of the Garden State gets a big boost with a national designation. The once super secret former military installation known as Camp Evans in Wall Township has been designated a National Historic Landmark by the Secretary of Interior Thursday.
Fred Carl, Director of the Info Age Science History Center which houses 12 museums at the former base, says the site received the designation for the important role it played during World War II in creating electronics on the home front that helped to support soldiers in the field. He says some of the inventions had to do with radar, sonar, spying devices, radio-jamming devices to work against the enemy.
Carl says the designation honors all the Garden State residents who supported the technological advances of two World Wars. “In Monmouth County and most of New Jersey people were designing advanced electronics that really did a major part in winning the war.” He says there are thousands of home front warriors who worked at Camp Evans, Fort Monmouth, Squire Labs, Camp Coles, Fort Hancock, the Long Branch Signal Lab and surprising temporary sites like the Shark River Hotel, the former Grossman Hotel in Bradley Beach, the Asbury Park Yards, the Avon Storage Facility and Jimmy Byrnes’ Sea Girt Inn.
He says “people from Clifton New Jersey to Cape May and from Trenton to Belmar who worked all during the war and didn’t get the honors like the soldiers did even though they were supporting the soldiers.”
Carl says he believes the designation will put them in a better position to apply for grants
from foundations. He says “we’re working to make the site a science history center with the goal of inspiring kids and families to study science.”
Carl credits inventions in the shore area with helping to invent electronics that help to ease suffering and add more enjoyment to people’s lives. “For example, many inventions in wireless were done here in the early days and now what we call our wireless cell phones were built on some of those fundamental inventions.”
Offering a brief history, Carl says Camp Evans served twice as a secret military site. the first time during WWI from 1917 to 1920 where he says the Navy ran it and some of the most important radio advances were done at the camp. Then again in 1941 when the Army purchased the camp before the U.S. got involved in WWII because of Pearl Harbor and it stayed a Military instillation until around 2003 when the last nuclear research mission left.
Carl says the camp has served as a home for museums since 2006. He says it grew from one building with two rooms to six buildings with about 12 to 14 rooms of exhibits that feature the history of oldtime wireless radio, television, shipwrecks, oldtime computers that poeple can visit on Wednesday, Saturday and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m.
4th District (R) Congressman Chris Smith hosted a press conference Thursday to make the official announcement. He’s credited by Carl with fighting to save the former base from being bulldozed.
the Info Age Science and History Center invites you to their Halloween fundraisers this Friday and Saturday Oct 19th and 20th and Next Friday and Saturday, Oct 26th and 27 called Camp Evans Base of Terror featuring a quarter mile of haunted attractions. Get the details at infoage.org