YONKERS, N.Y. – A shining tribute to one of Yonkers’ brightest inventors will soon overlook his most monumental achievement.
The Yonkers City Council voted Tuesday to accept a gift plaque honoring city native Edwin Armstrong, the man who created FM radio and built the Alpine Tower.
When it unveiled later this year, the plaque will sit near the Greystone Train Station on Warburton Ave., overlooking Armstrong’s tower across the Hudson River.
“It maybe took a little more time than I expected but I was confident it was going to get done,” said Steve Klose, the New Jersey man who organized the plaque’s fundraising. “Now that it has, I am thrilled. This is long overdue.”
For months Klose has been in the midst of a crusade, working to make sure Armstrong, once called "the most prolific and influential inventor in radio history," was given proper recognition in the city he once called home.
Born in New York City in 1890, Armstrong and his family moved to a home at 1032 Warburton Ave. when he was 12 years old. Years later, as an undergraduate student at Columbia University, Armstrong created several inventions in his parents’ attic in Yonkers, including a circuit used in most 20th-century radios.
In 1937, Armstrong developed his most notable accomplishment when he created FM radio technology. A year later, he constructed the first FM radio station in Alpine, N.J., along with the Alpine Tower.
The 425-foot tower that led to modern FM radio still stands today, overlooking Yonkers and the Hudson River from its perch high in the Palisades of New Jersey. Klose said his interest was sparked in Armstrong as he rode by the tower during frequent motorcycle trips through the Hudson Valley.
“He should be a house hold name in the City of Yonkers,” Klose said. “He’s done so much for radio and communications and the guy was a genius.”
And so he launched a fundraising campaign, setting up a donation site at gofundme.com. After a mix of contributions from private individuals and various interest groups, Klose raised the $4,400 to have the plaque engraved.
Tuesday’s vote from the City Council to accept the donation was the final step in a lengthy process to erect the small memorial.
Klose said he hopes it helps garner Armstrong some much deserved recognition and perhaps inspires the next generation of Yonkers inventors.
“Maybe kids will hear about this guy was from Yonkers too and look how important he is and the contributions he made,” he said.
The plaque is expected to be unveiled at its permanent location later during a ceremony later this spring.