The Manhattan Project

Civilian Life

Jay Wechsler's Interview

Jay Wechsler: Well, my mother was visiting her folks in New York when she decided that it was time, and I was the first child, and I guess she was a little surprised. So I was born in New York even though we didn’t live there. And as soon as we were able we were back in New Jersey, where she and my father lived. My father was a chemist and even at a young age he was always taking me into the plant where he worked, showing me things. And I kind of had a mechanical bend or bent.

Santa Fe, NM

Santa Fe was the first stop for many scientists, engineers, Women's Army Corps, military police and all others assigned to work on the top-secret project at Los Alamos. 

Lamy

Ten miles from Santa Fe, Lamy is the nearest stop on the former Atchinson, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. Young men and women assigned to work at Los Alamos arrived not knowing where they were or where they were going.  

Jackson Square

Jackson Square was the heart of Oak Ridge’s business district. Originally Town Center No. 1, the name Jackson Square was adopted in February 1945 as Oak Ridge moved away from military terminology. The site was one of five commercial shopping areas distributed across the Oak Ridge reservation.

T-Plant

In early 1944, DuPont, the operating contractor at Hanford, foresaw the need for four chemical separation facilities. These facilities, designated the T and U plants at location 200-West and the B and C plants at location 200-East (the C plant was never built), would be located approximately ten miles south of the reactors.

Mary Lowe Michel's Interview

Michel: My name was Mary Lowe, L-O-W-E, and I married John Michel, M-I-C-H-E-L.

Kelly: Great. Is it possible that you can look toward me? So tell me, how and when did you come to Oak Ridge?

Michel: I came in November of 1944.

Kelly: And what had—where had you come from? What brought you here?

Robert Ellingson's Interview

Robert Ellingson: My name is Robert Ellingson, and it’s spelled E-L-L-I-N-G-S-O-N. 

Kelly: Great. Now if you could just tell us where you’re from, and how you happened to end up in the Manhattan Project.

Ellingson: I am from a little town in Idaho, and Idaho is west of Wyoming if you’re not familiar with the geography of the country. Most people look quizzical and say, “Iowa, that’s north of here, isn’t it?” But this is the one in the West. 

Hanford, WA

Hanford, Washington, on the beautiful Columbia River, was the site selected for the full-scale plutonium production plant, the B Reactor. Today a popular tourist desination, the Hanford Site proved crucial to the success of the Manhattan Project. 

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