July 2012
House Committee Advances MP Park Bill
Park Bill & AHF in the News
Ask Your Congressmen to Support the Bill!
Stories from Groves' Inner Sanctum
AHF Visits Enola Gay
Revamped NM Guidebook
Farewell, Fiona!
Quick Links

The Jefferson Memorial

July 11, 2012 marked another major milestone towards the creation of a Manhattan Project National Historical Park. With Chairman Doc Hastings wielding his gavel, the House Committee on Natural Resources approved H.R. 5987, forwarding it to the full House. 

With this important action, the legislation and prospects for a national historical park is beginning to receive nationwide and international coverage from the Washington Post, Public Radio International and BBC. Next week, on either August 6 or 9, CBS This Morning will air a segment on the proposed Park. Stay tuned! 

House Committee Advances Bill

Committee members chat before the markup session

On July 11, 2012 the House Committee on Natural Resources approved by unanimous consent to advance H.R. 5987, the Manhattan Project National Historical Park Act, to the full House for consideration. The bill would establish a national historical park at Manhattan Project sites in Los Alamos, NM; Oak Ridge, TN; and Hanford, WA.


In a press release, Rep Hastings explained, "Today's committee approval moves the Historical Park another step forward with our eye on enacting the bill into law before the end of this year.  The goal of this bill is to officially declare the importance of preserving this history of the Manhattan Project, provide access to the public, and involve the unique abilities of the Park Service to help tell this story.  By establishing this Park, we seek to fully open the doors to the American people, as well as the world, to provide enhanced public access to these facilities where history unfolded."


The Atomic Heritage Foundation expects that the House will pass H.R. 5987 by unanimous consent in September. We are also hopeful the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resource will markup Senator Jeff Bingaman's companion bill, S. 3300, and move it to the Senate in September, perhaps as part of a larger package of public lands bills. Both are critical steps towards having the legislation enacted by the 112th Congress.

The Manhattan Project Park & AHF in the News



On Sunday, July 29, the Washington Post published a front-page article on the proposed Manhattan Project National Historical Park entitled,"Officials want to turn World War II nuclear-weapon development sites into national parks." The article highlights the bipartisan and bicameral legislation to establish a Manhattan Project National Historical Park, and notes the support of the Obama administration for creating the Park. The story explains the potential of the three proposed Park sites for increasing tourism and popular interest in the Manhattan Project.


Atomic Heritage Foundation President Cindy Kelly is quoted in the piece. She discusses the importance of preservation and her hope that the Park would open Los Alamos National Laboratory historical sites to tours, such as at the Oppenheimer House and the V-Site.


The Washington Post is expected to publish an editorial in support of the Manhattan Project Park legislation sometime this week, so be on the lookout for the piece!


Cindy Kelly and Katy Brown, president of the Oak Ridge Convention and Visitors Bureau, were interviewed about the proposed Park on the international public radio program "The Takeaway" on July 31. Kelly and Brown were asked about the preservation and interpretation of the Manhattan Project sites. Kelly discussed the National Park Service's desire to tell the story of the atomic bomb from the 1940s to the present day, and to include multiple perspectives, including the Japanese and anti-nuclear protesters, in the narrative of the Manhattan Project and its legacy for today. 


Ask Your Congressmen to Support the Bill! 


The National Trust for Historic Preservation has created an easy way for advocates of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park to contact their Congressmen and ask for their support for the legislation. Simply click here, fill in the required fields, edit the letter as you wish, and your missive will be sent to your Congressmen's offices. 


The national park legislation will be competing with an avalanche of other business before the 112th Congress adjourns. With precious few legislative days left in the session, please help make sure the Manhattan Project National Historical Park legislation gets through. 


Stories from Groves' Inner Sanctum


On April 25, 2012, Patricia (Patty) Cox Owen, who served under General Leslie Groves in the Manhattan Project, passed away. Born on March 31, 1925 in Cedar Rapids, IA, she was 87. Ms. Owen was a member of Groves' inner sanctum. Immersed in the top-secret Manhattan Project, she kept mum about her work for most of her life, leaving behind a few choice stories of her work on the Project.


Patty reported to Col. William A. Consodine, who was deputy to John Lansdale, Groves' chief security and counterintelligence officer. Secrecy was of utmost importance. Patty never even told her husband the secrets of her work on the Manhattan Project, long after the war was over.


Patty Cox Owen receiving an award for her Manhattan Project work from General Leslie Groves

While her job was defined as a "Clerk-Steno," not only did she take dictation and transcribe top-secret memos for Secretary of War Henry Stimson, she was also responsible for the confidential funds in the Washington office, "the amount of which cannot be stated for security reasons." 


Her other duties included "to keep out of the press and off the radio any reference to nuclear physics, atomic energy, atomic bomb, and sundry allied subjects; and after August 6, 1945, to limit the use of information so as to protect the various secrets of the atomic bomb and the release of atomic energy and yet aid in the release of unclassified information."


Ms. Owen's sons recently provided the Atomic Heritage Foundation access to their mother's collection of Manhattan Project memorabilia. The collection includes many gems, from photographs of Groves to World War II newspaper clippings. Ms. Owen had typed up some "Later Remembrances" of her time in Groves' office. Click here to read a few choice excerpts.  


AHF Visits the Enola Gay at the Air and Space Museum



In July, AHF visited the Air and Space Museum, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, out in Chantilly, VA. The restored Enola Gay--the B-29 that dropped the atomic bomb "Little Boy" on Hiroshima--has been on display at the museum since 2003. 
The plane is enormous, 99 feet nose-to-tail with a 141-foot wingspan. Its bomb bay carried the 10 foot-long, 9,700 pound bomb some 600 miles across the Pacific from Tinian to Japan on August 6, 1945. We highly recommend a visit to see the Enola Gay and the many other planes, from Wright Brothers vintage airplanes to the Blackbird to the Concorde, on display the Museum. If you can't make it out to Chantilly, you can click here to view some of the photographs from our trip.


Revamped New Mexico Guidebook Goes on Sale 

August 13th!

Oppenheimer and Groves at the Trinity test site


Our revised and expanded Guide to the Manhattan Project in New Mexico is due to arrive the week of August 13th. Thanks to contributions from the Los Alamos Historical Society and a donation from Clay & Dorothy Perkins, we have produced a new, expanded version with more photographs, text, and a colorful, eye-catching design. 


The revamped guidebook will be an important addition to our series of Manhattan Project guidebooksYou can purchase the guidebook on our website or on AmazonEnjoy a preview of the attractions at a Manhattan Project National Historical Park!

Farewell, Fiona!


We would like to thank our summer intern, Fiona Vella, for her terrific work over the past few months. Fiona is a rising junior at Yale, where she is a history major and sings in the a cappella group Out of the Blue. 


Fiona contributed to our ever-growing Atomic Wiki site, while spending most of her time editing and transcribing oral histories for our forthcoming "Voices of the Manhattan Project" website. We expect to launch the website this fall, and Fiona was instrumental in preparing dozens of oral histories for publication online. 


Fiona is visiting relatives in Ireland before returning to New Haven. Thanks for your hard work, Fiona, and best of luck!


Thanks very much for your interest in the Manhattan Project and preserving its history for future generations. Your contributions help us continue to work on preserving the Manhattan Project's historic sites and creating a national historical park. 


Thank you very much for your support!



Atomic Heritage Foundation