Snyder: Los Alamos – September 1945

The Bulletin kept the community informed once a week with news ranging from events to golf clubs for sale to lost and found kittens. It also listed movies being shown in the post theater. The community was fortunate that week. Meet Me In St. Louis was showing and starred Judy Garland, Margaret O’Brien and Mary Astor, now considered a classic featuring three actresses who became Hollywood legends. Courtesy. LA Historical Society Archive

Los Alamos Historical Society

We’re living through a strange September these days. I thought it might be interesting to look back to a September in Los Alamos 75 years ago.

The war was finally over, but the Women’s Army Corps contingency was still here and savoring a letter they had received days before. It was written on official War Department stationery and sent from Washington to the women assigned to the Manhattan District Project.

“It is certainly with pride, and a deep feeling of gratitude to each one of you, that I send this message. The security measures that still involve the Manhattan District Project, the great responsibility that each one of you will always have, set you apart as very special and honored heroines in World War II. Your devotion to duty, the sacrifices you have made, the daily soldier privileges that you have forfeited, and your loyalty to the security measures necessary will be proudly recorded in the history of the Women’s Army Corps.” It was signed by Westray Battle Boyce, Director, Women’s Army Corps, and dated September 6, 1945.

On September 7, the weekly Bulletin arrived with the usual reminder in the heading—“This Paper is Published for the Site—Keep It Here!” The first item informed residents that a Military Review would be held east of the boundary of the post at the baseball diamond known as Bradley Field. The occasion was to confer Meritorious Service Unit plaques on each of the military detachments on the post. The public was invited to attend.

That upbeat announcement was followed by a Notice to Electric Consumers. “The power company furnishing the site with a portion of our electricity over the 44 KV line has been forced, due to their load, to limit the amount of electricity we can take during the daytime and from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. We have only that which we can generate ourselves. For this reason it is mandatory that all unnecessary lights and power be shut off during the daytime and especially so in the evening hours.” It went on to explain that the situation would last for several weeks.

There was also a water shortage, so a list of ways to conserve water was supplied. “Do not wash automobiles. Do not water lawns. Keep drinking water in the refrigerator or cooler to eliminate the necessity of running water until it is cool. Use the stopper in the wash basin instead of running water while you are washing. And, keep children from playing with the water in the trailer shower rooms and laundry houses!”

“There is no longer a surplus of maids and for that reason maid service is having to cut drastically through priority. We urge the women to return their questionnaires to us so that they can get their proper share of maids.”

The Bulletin also listed the times for Sunday’s church services: Roman Catholic Mass at 8:30 a.m. at Theater #1, Children’s Summer Services at 9:30 a.m. at the Grade School, General Post Service at 9:30 a.m. at Theater #2, Holy Communion at 11 a.m. at Theater #2, the Mormon Service at 11 a.m. at Theatre # 1 and the Christian Fellowship at 7:30 p.m. at the Grade School.

The Fencing Group was to meet every Thursday evening at 7:30 in the Elementary Building of the school. Newcomers invited! And, there would be a Square Dance at North Mesa Hall on Saturday, 9 p.m.

If someone was disappointed that their maid would not be coming that week or they couldn’t wash their car, there was always solace in the Community Radio Station at 1000 KC [kilocycles]. Dinner music would begin at 7:00, Dance Music at 7:30, and Music of the Masters at 8:00. That week featured Schubert’s Symphony No. 8. Folk Songs to follow. And last, there was a Postal Notice:

For the information and guidance of all concerned, the Postal Officer requests all personnel to refrain from depositing valuables, i.e. jewelry, cash, etc, in inter-office mail drops. The postal service cannot assume responsibility for safe transmissions.

That was the week that was in September of 1945.

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