Virginia Ballard was born in Charleston, West Virginia. Her parents immigrated to the US from Scotland. In 1944, Ballard’s family moved to Richland, Washington where her father worked for DuPont. After attending college, Ballard went to work for GE and Exxon Nuclear. Her last job before retirement was as executive secretary to the manager for Siemens. Ballard had two children – Bruce and Diane – with her husband Del.
In this interview Ballard discusses her family’s relocation to Richland and her experience living there as a teenager. In particular, she talks about the high school she attended and recreational activities for teenagers at the time. Ballard also describes the town of Richland and its economy. She explains social and economic changes that occurred from before to during and after the war. Commenting on the secrecy of the scientific activity going on at Richland, Ballard shares that the dropping of the bomb came as a surprise to residents of Richland. But, their reactions were positive and they expressed great pride in the work of their fellow residents. She hopes that the Hanford area and B reactor will be preserved as an important historical site.