I more and more see the need both of courage to stand fast and the willingness to change. One is the lock and the other is the key; either without the other becomes useless.
--Roger Babson, Before Making Important Decisions, 1943
Roger Babson established the Gravity Research Foundation near the center of town in 1948. By 1963 the foundation included a public display to honor Isaac Newton’s attempts to understand the power and potential of gravitational forces. Inspired by his friend Thomas Edison, Roger Babson also included a display of approximately 5,000 gravity-defying birds.
Requiring somewhere safe from the effect of a potential nuclear war, Babson chose New Boston as the ideal locale just beyond his required 60-mile distance from Boston, which was presumed to be a high-profile target. New Boston would be perfect for research and annual conferences – The Gravity Center of the World!
Roger Babson wanted to erect a sign proclaiming New Boston to be the safest place in North America if World War III occurred, but the Town Selectmen at that time did not agree. Ironically, once the Air Force Satellite-Tracking Station was constructed, the former Soviet Union would probably have targeted New Boston for nuclear attack during the Cold War.
Originally intending to research ways to block or reduce the effect of gravity (with antigravity aircraft wings to prevent crashes or walking shoes with special soles to make one feel lighter, for example), Babson ultimately fostered research and discussions to simply better understand it. An annual essay contest routinely drew entries from such individuals as the physicist Stephen Hawkings.
The Gravity Research Foundation left town shortly after Babson’s death in 1967. Can gravity be harnessed for power or can its effects be reduced or eliminated? No one knows, but there is a stone memorial in the center of town that celebrates those who have attempted to find out.
From Images of America – New Boston