The Manhattan Project

In partnership with the National Museum of Nuclear Science & HistoryNational Museum of Nuclear Science & History

B Reactor

CJ Mitchell's Interview

CJ Mitchell: It’s CJ Mitchell, Junior. That’s just CJ. No periods or anything. It doesn't stand for anything. And Mitchell – M-I-T-C-H-E-L-L.

Kelly: Great. I would have made that mistake. Just like Harry Truman. It’s Harry S Truman, no period.

Mitchell: Yeah, my dad was a CJ as well.

Kelly: Was he?

Mitchell: Yes.

Kelly: You’re a junior. We started chatting, but why don’t you tell us for the camera, where you're from and how you came to Richland.

CJ Mitchell

CJ Mitchell grew up in northeastern Texas. In this interview, he describes moving to Hanford after graduating from high school in 1947. Only sixteen years old, Mitchell took a job working on the trailer park in North Richland, and worked on other construction projects. At first, he lived in a tent with his relatives in East Pasco.

Hanford 25th Anniversary Celebration

[Many thanks to Claude Lyneis for donating this footage to the Atomic Heritage Foundation.]

Narrator: About seventy-five miles northwest of Walla Walla, Washington, in an isolated expanse of open desert, civilization entered into a new age, an age from which it would never emerge the same. Here, in the home of the Wanapum Indians, the terrain is mostly scrubland, laced here and there by cheatgrass, greasewood, and Russian thistle.

Jack Keen's Interview

Jack Keen: My father was an engineering draftsman at Hanford. I was—depending on what the months were—probably three or four years old.

Richard Rhodes: When you went there?

Keen: Right, when I lived there in one of those big, duplex houses. My mother, father and I lived in those duplexes for a time when I was a little kid.

Rhodes: What was his name?

Keen: His name was Lester Orlan, O-R-L-A-N, Keen, K-E-E-N.

Rhodes: And what was your mother’s name?

Fred Hunt's Interview

Hunt: I started working for DuPont in 1937 at Old Hickory [in Tennessee] in the power department. I was very anxious to do the best I could, so I made a special effort to learn everything.

Where were you when you were told to return to Wilmington?

Hunt: At that point I was a power superintendent at Childersburg Ordnance.

That was in Alabama?

Hunt: In Alabama.

When did you find out about Hanford?

Fred Hunt

Fred Hunt, a mechanical engineer who worked in the power department for DuPont during the late 1930s, arrived in Hanford in 1943. He supervised and maintained the river pump houses, reservoirs and other facilities responsible for pumping water to cool the reactors at Hanford.

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