One Curious and One Uncomfortable Photo Concerning the Old Hanford Townsite

Juli Kearns Hanford Declassified Leave a Comment

This is one of those images like in the Highlights children’s magazine where something isn’t quite right

I culled these a long while ago from the Hanford Document Retrieval System:

Hanford Hotel Painting...with rifle floating in mid air

Enlargement
Hanford Hotel Painting
DDRS Record Details for Record Accession Number
“N1D0068052”
Accession Number N1D0068052
Document Number S-6795-NEG
Alternate Document Number S-6795-NEG
Title Description HANFORD HOTEL PAINTING
Number of Pages 1
Key Word(s) HANFORD SITE,SAFETY
Author(s)
Company(s)
Document Date 05-Feb-2002
Public Availability Date 29-Sep-2002

Yes, that’s right, a rifle is floating in the air

The town of Hanford was dismantled to make way for the reactors that would manufacture the plutonium for Fat Man. 300 people had 30 days to get out. And the town would be no longer.

There is no date given for photo of the painting. As it isn’t numbered in the way many of the old WWII photos from Hanford are numbered, I’m going to assume this is post WWII, late 40s or early 50s. No information on the artist is provided, of course, and no information on the purpose of the painting…except for the keyword “safety”.

Safety?

A Hanford Hotel did once exist. I was able to find a reference to it in an old, 1913 government document on water resources in southeastern Washington state. In the document, mention was made of a well at the Hanford Hotel.

All that has long since remained of the town of Hanford is a shell of its high school.

It looked like this in 1954.

1954, Old Hanford High School
1954, Old Hanford High School
DDRS Record Details for Record Accession Number
“N1D0030821”
Accession Number N1D0030821
Document Number 2907-NEG
Alternate Document Number 2907-NEG
Title Description OLD HANFORD HIGH SCHOOL
Number of Pages 1
Key Word(s)
Author(s)
Company(s)
Document Date 12-Jul-1954
Public Availability Date 14-Feb-2002

And it looked like this in 1965. Or part of it did.

1965, Model in Remains of Old Hanford High School
1965, Model in Remains of Old Hanford High School
DDRS Record Details for Record Accession Number
“N1D0069246”
Accession Number N1D0069246
Document Number 26491-2-PHOTO
Alternate Document Number 26491-2-PHOTO
Title Description MODEL STANDING IN THE REMAINS OF THE OLD HANFORD TOWNSITE HIGH SCHOOL
Number of Pages 1
Key Word(s) HANFORD TOWNSITE,HIGH SCHOOL REMAINS
Author(s)
Company(s)
Document Date 01-Jan-1965
Public Availability Date 29-Sep-2002

The photo of the painting of the old Hanford Hotel, with its floating rifle (too high to be ported by a ghost), and the one of the model standing in the remains of the old Hanford high school, which looks for all intents and purposes like a bomb site, are two which have always struck me as curious–photos that I look at and wonder, “Why?”

Was it intentional that the model look as if she was standing in the remains of a bombed out building? The old high school, in the angle pictured above, bears an eerie resemblance to Nagasaki’s Urakami cathedral after Fat Man.


The above photo of Urakami Cathedral is from the Children of the Atomic Bomb website, which is a research website project developed by Dr. James N. Yamazaki, an emeritus professor of medicine at UCLA. He was the lead physician of the 1949 U.S. Atomic Bomb Medical Team, studying the effects of nuclear bombing on children in Nagasaki, Japan. He received the Socially Responsible Medicine Award from Physicians for Social Responsibility in 2008.

From the about page:

This website provides the who, what, and why of UCLA’s involvement with the development of the atomic bomb and nuclear issue for over six decades.

The consequences of the nuclear age — and nuclear weapons — on human beings and their environment is perhaps the greatest single threat to all of us today.

The nuclear threat affects all nations — among them, the U.S. and Russia, the two nations who possess the most weapons of mass destruction — as well as those nations who do not.

The University of California at Los Angeles — its scientists, engineers, physicians, and laboratories — has had a long-standing and unique involvement with the development of the nuclear bomb and of the Nuclear Age.

Here again is the link to Children of the Atomic Bomb. Lesson plans are available on the site for teaching grades 10 and 11 about the human toll of Fat Man and Little Boy, and working for nuclear disarmament.

Read the introduction to the Remixing the Hanford Declassified Project series of posts and digital paintings. View all digital paintings here.

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