In the weeks after the April 2 community meeting (in the previous post), I kept waiting and hoping to have some news to post in an update. I went to that meeting, where Pfaffmann + Associates talked about the idea of moving the atom smasher to the site of the new municipal building and the need for fundraising, etc. There were maybe 10 of us there who happily signed up for a committee to help with it.
After a week or two, I emailed the company asking about follow-up and contact info for the others. I got one very brief reply that they were very busy but hoped to turn attention to the atom smasher the next week. But over the following weeks and months, I and a few others got no replies at all to our queries.
Yesterday was the groundbreaking ceremony for the new municipal building, and zero mention was made of the atom smasher, which had been featured prominently in earlier versions of this project.
Yet it seems like there’s still lots of interest in the atom smasher. Along with the many people from Forest Hills and surrounding areas, and Westinghouse employees, there are whole networks of potentially interested people in organizations like the Society for Industrial Archeology and the Atomic Heritage Foundation. When I did a presentation on the atom smasher at an SIA meeting, many people there commented with support and sympathy.
Newly added to the Carnegie Science Center miniature railroad display
Meanwhile, in the good news, there is new excitement as the model Westinghouse atom smasher just debuted in the miniature railroad at the Carnegie Science Center! Whatever happens to the real one, at least it’s preserved in this wonderful display. From the photos it looks like a really detailed and accurate model. I can’t wait to see it in person!
The Saturday after a Post-Gazette article about the model was published, it was in the top 5 most read and most emailed articles on the Post-Gazette website—and that is just for the MINI atom smasher!!
So, we don’t know why the recent preservation ideas seem to be discarded, but I’m really sure the atom smasher doesn’t suffer from a lack of interest!