Yonkers, N.Y. dignitaries, relatives of Edwin Howard Armstrong and others gather for the unveiling of a plaque to memorialize the broadcast technology inventor and resident of Yonkers. Photo by Scott Fybush.
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It took nearly 60 years after his death, but the inventor of FM radio is finally being recognized on the street where he lived. On Monday, city officials in Yonkers, N.Y. joined with radio enthusiasts and history buffs to unveil a plaque honoring Major Edwin Howard Armstrong’s accomplishments.
The bronze plaque in Hudson-Fulton Park is just a block away from the site of Armstrong’s home on Warburton Avenue, and it overlooks the Hudson River and the unique three-armed tower that Armstrong built in Alpine, N.J. in 1937–38.
The plaque was the brainchild of Steve Klose, a New Jersey resident who learned of Armstrong because of their shared interest in fast motorcycles. Klose became fascinated by Armstrong’s story and ended up leading a fundraising campaign that generated more than $4,000 in contributions to pay for the plaque.
Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano and several city council members were on hand for Monday’s ceremony, joined by two Armstrong descendants. The ceremony was broadcast live on WA2XMN, the experimental “Armstrong memorial station” that transmits on Armstrong’s old 42.8 MHz frequency from the tower in Alpine.
“He changed the world with his inventions and it all began right here,” said Armstrong relative Adam Brecht, who read a letter from Jeanne Hammond, Armstrong’s great-niece and, at 92, the inventor’s oldest living relative.
After the half-hour ceremony on a warm, sunny afternoon, guests were treated to a cake displaying an image of Armstrong.
The plaque may not be the last commemoration of Armstrong in his native Yonkers. City officials are now working to get a replica made of a bust of Armstrong now on display at Columbia University, and there’s talk of renaming part of Warburton Avenue in the major’s honor.