NewsLocal News


Plans in place for Nikola Tesla statue in Downtown Buffalo

Posted at 11:19 PM, Jan 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-06 23:19:45-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Nikola Tesla made a major splash at the turn of the last century by proving alternating current is superior to direct current. He did that in Western New York when he lit up Buffalo with electricity harnessed from Niagara Falls.

There is a statue in Niagara Falls marking the historical feat, but not in the Buffalo.

One group is looking to change that, the Buffalo Niagara Nikola Tesla Council. Their goal is to erect a 7-foot-bronze statue of Tesla at M and T Plaza off of North Division and Main Street.

“Holding a wireless light bulb, which was one of his innovation. He was the father of wireless,” Martin McGee, with the Nikola Tesla Council.

The statue will look towards Niagara Falls, behind it will be Ellicott Square, the very building where Tesla lectured.

“It's to make sure that folks are sure who Nikola Tesla was, so that when they see the name they don't just automatically jump to the electric vehicle,” added Paul Swisher. He’s in charge of running the educational aspect of the group. He’s looking for teachers around Western New York to be a part of an homage to Tesla on April 12th.

Francis Lestingi, a self-described recovering physics professor is the primary benefactor for the project. He says it's been a decades old dream of his to honor Tesla.

“He came to this country with four cents and he left with no money at all. And the debt that we owe to him is far superior to the debt that he was in,” said Lestingi. He’s hosting a Tesla lecture at the Buffalo History Museum on February 27th.

The statue is already being built in Florida. The hope is to unveil it by July.