The Manhattan Project

Los Alamos, NM

Nick Salazar's Interview

[Thanks to David Schiferl and Willie Atencio for recording this interview and providing a copy to the Atomic Heritage Foundation.]

Willie Atencio: All right. Mr. Nick Salazar, we want to interview you because we know you remember a lot of things about Los Alamos. Can you first tell us the first time you went to Los Alamos?

Nick Salazar: As an employee?

Benjamin Bederson

Benjamin Bederson, a New York native, was selected to serve in the Special Engineering Detachment during the Manhattan Project. A physicist, he was first sent to Oak Ridge, and then to Los Alamos, where he worked for Donald Hornig on designing the ignition switches for the implosion bomb. At Los Alamos, he knew Ted Hall and David Greenglass, who were secretly sending atomic bomb secrets to the USSR. Bederson instructed the 509th Composite Group at Wendover and was sent to Tinian to help wire the switches for the bomb.

Richard Money's Interview

Willie Atencio: The first thing we need to know is, where were you born?

Dick Money: In Chicago.

Atencio: Okay, you were born in Chicago. What part of Chicago?

Money: South Side.

Atencio: South Side. Tell us a little bit about your parents.

Money: My father was a civil engineer. He had a company that built grain elevators. He was educated at Armour Institute, which later became Illinois Tech in Chicago. A wonderful man, of course.

Richard Money

Richard "Dick" Money was a chemist. He received his undergraduate degree at the University of Chicago, where he was introduced to the Manhattan Project's Metallurgical Laboratory. He was hired by the Met Lab and sent to work for Clinton Laboratories in Oak Ridge, TN during the Manhattan Project. He went on to work for Los Alamos National Laboratory for many years and then became a science and math teacher. In his interview, Money discusses how he became involved in the Manhattan Project and his jobs and responsibilities while working in these secret labs.

Elberta Lowdermilk Honstein's Interview

Willie Atencio: What were the circumstances that you came to the Española area?

Elberta Lowdermilk Honstein: Well, the very first thing was my father, Elbert Lowdermilk, got the contract to build the first road to Los Alamos in 1943. That’s how I came. In ’43 I would maybe have been 15 years old. We spent the summers with my father. I was still in school in Denver. That’s how I got to New Mexico.

Elberta Lowdermilk Honstein

Elberta Lowdermilk Honstein was the daughter of Elbert Lowdermilk, the contractor whose construction company built roads and utility lines around Los Alamos during the Manhattan Project. In this interview, Lowdermilk Honstein describes her father’s projects, from building the first road to Los Alamos to successfully maneuvering an “atom smasher” up the hill. She discusses her life in Española and her memories of exploring Los Alamos and the Pueblos. She also describes her relationship with her father.

Margaret and John Wickersham's Interview

[Thanks to David Schiferl and Willie Atencio for recording this interview and providing a copy to the Atomic Heritage Foundation.]

Willie Atencio: Mr. John Wickersham, we’re trying to interview you and get information from you, because you were at Los Alamos. You were there while the bomb was being developed. 

John Wickersham: Oh, yeah. But I don’t know nothing about that.

Atencio: Your first name, ma’am?

Margaret (Marge) Wickersham: I’m Margaret.

Margaret Wickersham

Margaret "Marge" (Hibner) Wickersham grew up in the Fairview area of Española, NM.

During the Manhattan Project, she commuted by bus from Española to Los Alamos, where she worked as a maid and as a cashier in the commissary. At Los Alamos, she met and married her husband John Wickersham.

After the war, the Wickershams settled in Española, where they raised five children.

Felix DePaula's Interview (2008)

[Thanks to David Schiferl and Willie Atencio for recording this interview and providing a copy to the Atomic Heritage Foundation.]

David Schiferl: Tell us how you got here.

Felix DePaula: Well, let me start with being inducted into the service in 1944, October of ’44, into the Corps of Engineers at Fort Dix, New Jersey. Then from there, I was sent to Fort Belvoir, Virginia, and I spent a couple of months in the wintertime at Fort Belvoir, Virginia.

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