Where the Old West Meets the New, Declassified

And the welcoming committee was Plastic Man

hanfordatomicfrontiersdayparade54flatdarker
Where the old west greets the new, declassified
2005
25 w by 19 in h inches
Digital Painting
Based on a photo from the “Hanford Historical Photo Declassification Project”.
© copyright Jk

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“C’mon, kids! Wave at Reactor Man!”

Actually, he was known as Plastic Man.

Atomic Frontier Days, GE Float, 1954
DDRS Record Details for Record Accession Number
“N1D0003098”
Accession Number N1D0003098
Document Number 9010-NEG-G
Alternate Document Number 9010-NEG
Title Description ATOMIC FRONTIER DAYS PARADE
Number of Pages 1
Key Word(s)
Author(s)
Company(s)
Document Date 07-Aug-1954
Public Availability Date 14-Feb-2002

Yes, we have here a proud General Electric entrant in a Richland Atomic Frontier Days Parade. Which may be a shocker to non-Richlandites, that Richland had Atomic Frontier Day celebrations in the summer, that there would be a float congratulating the start up of the first reactor and that Plastic Man meets Rawhide was great entertainment.

Not that it isn’t.

You have to admit that Plastic Man could be pretty endearing. He looked like a cross between a wind-up doll, a mime, a robot, and Wonder Bread wrapping.

[column_one_half]1954 PLASTIC MAN - 231 BUILDING, 200-W
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[column_one_half_last]1954 PLASTIC MAN - 231 BUILDING, 200-W[/column_one_half_last]

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Modeling Fall Fashions at Richland, Declassified

What the fashion conscious woman wore down at the plutonium plant

Modeling Fall Fashions at Richland, Declassified
Modeling Fall Fashions at Richland, Declassified
2005
20 h by 11 inches w
Digital Painting
Based on a photo from the “Hanford Historical Photo Declassification Project”.
© copyright Jk

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The plutonium for the bomb dropped on Nagasaki was manufactured at Hanford, which is now a toxic wasteland. The nearby town of Richland was hurriedly constructed during WWII for the express purpose of the secret manufacture of plutonium. And with people came, of course, business. Like stores that sold clothing. Which was what you call colonization. That may sound like an old word, colonization, but that’s what they did. They colonized the desert.

Except that there had been people living there before who were sent packing so the new plutonium Richland could be born. And except for the Indians.

MASTER PLAN FOR SITE, CITY (UPTOWN SHOPPING AND CIVIC CENTER) - MAPS
DDRS Record Details for Record Accession Number
“N1D0056354”
Accession Number N1D0056354
Document Number 645-50-NEG-E
Alternate Document Number 645-50-NEG
Title Description MASTER PLAN FOR SITE, CITY (UPTOWN SHOPPING AND CIVIC CENTER) – MAPS
Number of Pages 1
Key Word(s) CITY OF RICHLAND,HANFORD SITE,MAPS
Author(s)
Company(s)
Document Date 05-Feb-2002
Public Availability Date 14-Jun-2002

MASTER PLAN FOR SITE, CITY (UPTOWN SHOPPING AND CIVIC CENTER) - MAPS
DDRS Record Details for Record Accession Number
“N1D0056350”
Accession Number N1D0056350
Document Number 645-50-NEG-A
Alternate Document Number 645-50-NEG
Title Description MASTER PLAN FOR SITE, CITY (UPTOWN SHOPPING AND CIVIC CENTER) – MAPS
Number of Pages 1
Key Word(s) CITY OF RICHLAND,HANFORD SITE,MAPS
Author(s)
Company(s)
Document Date 05-Feb-2002
Public Availability Date 14-Jun-2002

They wiped the slate clean and started brand new.

The plutonium manufactured at Richland gave the people at Nagasaki the opportunity to do the same.

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Mr. A + 4S + U = ?

hanfordmra2flatdark
Mr. A + 4S + U = ?
2005
18 by 11 inches
Digital Painting by Juli Kearns, Copyright © 2005 Juli Kearns
Based on a photo from the “Hanford Historical Photo Declassification Project”.

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Uniform with gun + smiling woman in seeming evening attire + Manhattan Project = ?

If you know the meaning of the symbols in the poster, please comment.

Continue reading Mr. A + 4S + U = ?

Dancers on the Hanford Theater Stage Declassified

Shall we dance? Shall we dance? Shall we Dance?

Dancers on the Hanford Theater Stage Declassified
Dancers on the Hanford Theater Stage Declassified
2005
16.5 h by 30 w inches
Digital Painting by Juli Kearns, Copyright © 2005 Juli Kearns

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Based on a photo from the “Hanford Historical Photo Declassification Project”

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When I first began looking through the Hanford Declassified Project, no search results appearing for Nagasaki or Hiroshima, I then looked for photos of people dancing. Why? I don’t recollect. Maybe because my husband is a musician and thus music is center in my life and always has been, for my mother was a pianist and I studied violin as a child and teenager. To look for photos related to music and dancing seemed a natural thing to do as music is an important part of the lives of most individuals and I thought it possible there would be music-related photos

There were a number of music-related photos. Some were of individuals, in costume, performing folk dances in what must have been clubs created for that purpose. There were pictures of people presumably performing the polka, and I remembered that as a child a neighboring friend had a costume made for her polka folk dance performance, complete with Dutch apron and cap, so folk dancing as a hobby in Richland was still going strong in the 60s.

They enjoyed international folk dances.

Continue reading Dancers on the Hanford Theater Stage Declassified

Pin-up girls and the bomb

Enough cheesecake to make your dead great-great grandmother’s false teeth complain

pinupinpink1darkerflat
Plutonium Desert Garden Pin-up Swimsuit Beauty, Declassified
2005
18 by 13 inches
Digital Painting by Juli Kearns, Copyright © 2005 Juli Kearns
Based on a photo from the “Hanford Historical Photo Declassification Project”.

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There’s a fair amount of cheesecake in the archive of the Hanford Declassified Project. Many of these photos have, strictly speaking, nothing to do with the bomb. And yet they do as Richland existed for plutonium production.

Yes, you bet we’re aware we sold security with sex

Legs here, legs there, sex sells the message, chases the spoonful of bitter with the sweet, and everyone knows it.

For instance, in the archive is a photo of two men at Hanford, one of whom is pointing out to another a sign on security and sabotage prevention.

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Bobby and the A-Bomb Factory

Bob Myers wrote a book about growing up a child of Hanford, Bobby and the A-Bomb Factory, that supplies not only a unique account on Hanford but also on the different American Indian nations in the area and the effect of Hanford on them. I happened upon his book the other day and promptly read his intimate, autobiographical account. My father was there conducting research on the low-level effects of radiation on miniature livestock, and he mentions this study, with which his father was also involved.

His family drank instant milk. That’s the kind of in-knowledge that only children of the area don’t have to explain to one another.

We both attended Jason Lee Elementary School but he was several years ahead of me and his family left the area several years before mine did.

As I said, there’s history worked throughout the book that is unavailable anywhere else on the internet.

And towards the beginning it has one of the better descriptions of the tumbleweed I’ve ever read.

A little cheesecake with that A-Bomb


A Little Cheesecake with that A-Bomb, Declassified, 2005 tinted photo
Film poster held by Jean Nelson, from the “Hanford Historical Photo Declassification Project”.

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Don’t miss this vital film! “You can beat the A-bomb.” Free showings. Columbia High School, Feb. 19 thru 22. Get tickets for yourself and family from your supervisor today.

That’s what the promo reads. The woman smiling makes one feel hopeful about the bomb, and the movie’s title makes nuclear arms seem as manageable as a bad stain set in the porcelain of a sink.

One shake of cleanser and some elbow grease should do the job!

A review at PicPal’s reads:

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Theaters of war

Hanford Talent Show Dancer, Declassified
Hanford Tap Dancer, Declassified
Digital painting
2005-2006

Original photo from the “Hanford Historical Photo Declassification Project”.

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The woman in the photo is a participant in a WWII talent show at the Hanford Theater. My assumption is she is tap dancing. Tap dancing was popular then and remained popular into my childhood. There was always a tap dancer on the Ed Sullivan Show in the 60s. Whether she’s concentrating or uncomfortable is difficult to tell. Either she is focused on and straining to push out those beats and has forgotten to smile or she’s not the first act and knew before taking the stage she didn’t have a chance, that it was a senseless exercise , but the show must go on and while it runs her legs begin to feel too long, too naked, too short, too heavy, her feet sweat, her hands sweat, her shoulders chill, they prickle with goosebumps. She’d wanted to be Shirley Temple, Ginger Rogers, Ann Miller, but her time is up and she’s on a stage sponsored by the atomic bomb rather than in Hollywood.

Or the photo could have been taken at a wrong moment and a couple seconds in the future she had blasted a hole in the floor with her mighty shoes.

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How they learned to stop worrying and loved the bomb


Hi Spot High School Dancers, Declassified
Tinted photo
Photo from the Hanford Historical Photo Declassification Project

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Teenage angst and love and fear and wonder at a blossoming new world.

The teenage wish to stand apart, to be individual, and the desire to identify with the pack.

HI SPOT HIGH SCHOOL DANCERS, undated
DDRS Record Details for Record Accession Number
“N1D0034663”
Accession Number N1D0034663
Document Number 1972-1-NEG-B
Alternate Document Number 1972-1-NEG
Title Description HI SPOT HIGH SCHOOL DANCERS
Number of Pages 1
Key Word(s)
Author(s)
Company(s)
Document Date 04-Dec-2001
Public Availability Date 14-Feb-2002

The Hi Spot was a high school dance club.

The mascot of the Richland high school is a bomb, the students are known as The Bombers and the emblem of the school is a mushroom cloud.

Atom imagery was prominent in Richland. Such as When you went with your girl or guy to watch a movie you were watched over by the atom.

Continue reading How they learned to stop worrying and loved the bomb

Growing up in the shadow of Mt. Fuji

The UN nuclear arms conference began on Monday. The countdown to midnight has been moved forward again to 7 minutes to midnight, the same setting as when the clock debuted 55 years ago.

Picture on right: Hanford B reactor, source of the plutonium for Fatman. Source: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/trinity/articles/part1.html

In 1960 I was three years old and we lived on a street called Blue in a government housing development that was a different kind of government housing development than what will immediately spring to most people’s minds. It was in the middle of an American desert that at that time not many Americans knew existed. The town we lived in was called Richland, located on the Columbia river in southeast Washington state.

As far as I knew, Richland was nestled in a state called paradise.

julisharing

The Japanese transistor-culture had moved in and along with the portable pocket radios came western lamps and furnishings with pseudo-Japanese aesthetic. On the living room wall above the black and white tweed sofa was a print of a painting of Mt. Fuji framed in ebony and gold, gray volcano rising out of a wash of pink cloud and mist, a scene which to me complemented the lampshades of the slim black lamps on the paired white and ebony sofa endtables. The lampshades were double-tier and gave the appearance of parchment decorated with hills of seeming spare black and white brushstrokes converging and were probably not intended to be evocative of Asian art, but when I looked at them I saw Japan.

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