April 2011
AHF's Work in Washington
Gun Site Restoration
Oak Ridge in Los Alamos
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We're happy to inform you that we're getting closer to having Congress consider a Manhattan Project National Historical Park. The National Park Service (NPS) has completed its study and Director John Jarvis and the Department of Energy have signed off on its recommendations. Before the report can be formally transmitted to Congress by the Department of Interior, it must pass through the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).  Because it affects both Energy and Interior, OMB's review takes longer.  But we expect some movement soon.  Stay tuned!


The near-term possibility of a Manhattan Project National Historical Park should affect decisions concerning the fate of two important Manhattan Project properties. The Department of Energy's Oak Ridge Operations Office is expected to propose whether to preserve a portion of the remaining K-25 plant.  At the same time, renew efforts are underway to ensure that the historic Guest House or Alexander Inn is retained.

 guest house

The designation of a Manhattan Project National Historical Park changes the equation for assessing these properties and gives Oak Ridge and eastern Tennessee a chance to capitalize on its Manhattan Project heritage. Both the K-25 and Guest House should be considered "contributing properties" and eligible for Federal funds once the park is designated.   The challenge is to preserve them now.


The Atomic Heritage Foundation has been advocating strongly for the preservation of both of these properties. Cindy Kelly recently wrote an op-ed to The Oak Ridger on preserving the K-25. You can also find more on the historic significance of these two landmarks on our website. Click here to read more.

AHF'S Proposed Projects in Washington

bruggemann warehouse

The Bruggemann Warehouse before the Manhattan Project

Following the Atomic Heritage Foundation's successful projects in Idaho Falls, ID and Hanford, WA, the M.J Murdock Charitable Trust of Vancouver, WA has invited the Atomic Heritage Foundation to develop a proposal for new interpretive projects in Hanford.  In partnership with many in the Hanford community, we are developing a proposal for four related projects.


The first is for partial funding for a Guide to the Manhattan Project Sites in Washington, a full-color guide book that is part of a series initiated in 2010 with the Guide to the Manhattan Project Sites in New Mexico.  The second is for a new series of audio and video vignettes on Hanford's history, covering topics ranging from pre-Manhattan Project settlers to life in the Hanford Camp to its legacy in the 21st century.


The third is a scale model of the entire B Reactor complex to help visitors understand how the B Reactor was once surrounded by power houses, pump houses, filtration plants and numerous mechanical shops, all of which have been destroyed.   And lastly, we plan to begin the restoration of the Bruggemann Warehouse with the goal of creating an interpretive center that would welcome people visiting the Hanford Reach and the B Reactor.


We are working with governments and numerous organizations in the Tri-Cities to plan and raise funds for these projects. With a Manhattan Project National Historical Park likely in the near future, we want to be ready to share Hanford's Manhattan Project history with the tens of thousands of future visitors.


The Gun Site Restoration at Los Alamos 


On April 18 and 19, AHF's Cindy Kelly went to Los Alamos with Clay Perkins of San Diego, CA to explore recent progress on the Gun Site. One of the most significant remaining Manhattan Project properties at Los Alamos, the Gun Site once included three concrete bunkers, a 45-foot high periscope tower, cannons and target bunkers that were used to develop the uranium-based or Little Boy bomb. While the Gun Site is now in a secured area of the laboratory, eventually it should be accessible as part of a Manhattan Project National Historical Park.

gun site
An artist's rendition of what the restored Gun Site might look like.

Clay Perkins has very generously pledged $250,000 towards the restoration work. Two years ago the Atomic Heritage Foundation secured $500,000 from Congress for Gun Site work and since then the Laboratory has put in additional funds. Ellen McGehee of the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) has the lead for restoring the property and is about to release an RFP for repairing and reconstructing the exterior of the concrete bunkers.


While it may be difficult to achieve, we hope that the restoration of the Gun Site will be far enough along for a Manhattan Project event in Los Alamos as part of the  New Mexico's Centennial Events in early July 2012. We were encouraged by the level of enthusiasm and support for the restoration project and hope that together we can find a way to make this work.


Los Alamos Enjoys Tales from Oak Ridge 

Oak Ridge at Los Alamos


The Los Alamos Historical Society and its members thoroughly enjoyed D. Ray Smith's talk on Oak Ridge's Manhattan Project history.  Pictured standing before the fireplace in Fuller Lodge (left to right) are D. Ray Smith, Y-12 Historian, Oak Ridge, TN, Clay Perkins, Cindy Kelly and Denny Erickson, president of the Los Alamos Historical Society.


Did you know why General Groves liked to hire young women from Tennessee? Ray quoted Groves, "They were not sophisticated---they had not been reared to believe they knew it all." 

As we continue to work towards the creation of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park, we value our strong connections with the communities of all three Manhattan Project sites. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with them as we attempt to capture the whole story of the Manhattan Project. Your contributions help us continue to work with the communities and on a national level for the preservation of Manhattan Project history. Thank you very much for your support!


Atomic Heritage Foundation