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VINTAGE VIDEO: Construction of Bell Labs in Holmdel

A fascinating look at the construction of Bell Labs, beginning in 1959.

In these fascinating videos about the planning, construction and life of the Holmdel Bell Labs facility beginning in 1959 on Crawfords Corner Road, you will see amazing things.

The story is told to the accompaniment of dramatic orchestral music. There are scenes of men precariously perched on the top of the property's water tower, the burning of the old buildings fomerly on the site, the historic Hendrickson house before it was moved off the land, and of course the inventions. 

The video is narrated in great style. The photography captures how Eero Saarinen's architectural vision included sunlight's effect on patterns of glass in the soaring atrium, movable walls that could expand workspaces, sunlit filled long corridors and windowless, artificially-lit offices for privacy. 

The first video ends abruptly. But click on the second video for its conclusion, to  learn about the cafeteria, the ring road and the front yard lagoon which provided the cooling weater for the air conditioning and fire-fighting back-up supply. 

Following the Bell Labs produced film is a second one, created in the 1980s for the plant's 20 year anniversary. It tells the story of the important people that worked there, and their inventions. But it also tells about the company's commitment to encouraging clubs and community involvement.  There are scenes of the Pioneers, the Flying Club, Garden Club, and many more, and mention of the day in 1964 when the workers were snowed in and slept at Bell Labs. 

In one part the narrator says, "There will be changes ahead, but regardless of what the future may hold, Holmdel will continue to do what it always has done: thrive, change, challenge and achieve." 

The two million square foot facility, which once housed 6,000 employees, was sold in 2006. Plans for redevelopment of the property are currently underway. 

The videos were posted on YouTube. Credit is given to James Canham, Facility Manager 1984 - 2001, for providing them. 

Grace Modla February 19, 2011 at 11:35 PM
Christina, What a great find. My thirteen year old son and his friend just watched these with me (they were drawn in despite their teen selves). At the end of it, friend said, "So, Holmdel isn't just any old town. It has a purpose!" They were genuinely impressed by all the technology and discovery that took place right in their own backyard. They had no idea of the rich legacy we've inherited. What we do with the Lucent property today will reverberate for generations, and residents need to stay involved with the ongoing process. What do we want Holmdel folks 50 years from now to say about us?
Terry Lin March 17, 2011 at 05:24 AM
Great article and video, Chris!! Fascinating stuff!! Terry
Beth Burricelli Cooke June 09, 2014 at 04:58 PM
Is the video still available? I dont see the link!!
Christina Johnson June 09, 2014 at 05:20 PM
The first vintage Bell Labs video can be seen on Youtube at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3BbfdIKz6k

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