OAK RIDGE (WATE) – Oak Ridge is celebrating the establishment of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park, a joint project by the National Park Service and the U.S. Department of Energy.
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The process up to this point has taken more than a decade. The goal of the park is to tell the story and protect what remains of the Manhattan Project, which created the atomic bomb, helping to bring an end to World War II.
Wednesday, the paperwork for the park was signed in Washington. Thursday, Oak Ridge held three ceremonies that included several of the people who worked on the Manhattan Project more than 70 years ago.
“We were supposed to keep it a secret, what we were doing,” said Ruth Huddleston, a calutron girl. “Couldn’t even tell our parents.”
Huddleston was just a teenager then, who had no idea how big of a project she was working on. She only knew what her day-to-day job was; she never knew why she was doing it.
“To me, it’s sort of exciting to know that we were able to keep that secret, because you know a bunch of people get together, you’re going to talk,” she remembered. “But we didn’t!
Now, decades later, the Manhattan Project will be memorialized as a national park spanning three states. So far, there isn’t a structured timeline for when the park will be complete, or where all of the funding will come from.