The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

March 2, 2014

Local man part of nuclear program

— Vermilion County native Denton E. Alexander worked at the massive Clinton Engineer Works in Tennessee in the 1940s. Peak employment at the top secret government installation reached 50,000. Buildings at the complex covered acres, and supplies came in by rail cars, but the product they were making was measured in milligrams and was transported to its final destination by couriers.

Young people, the majority of them women, filled many of the positions at the complex in the Volunteer State, but there was a severe shortage of people educated in the sciences to fill critical positions. To alleviate this shortage, the government decided to reach out to the armed forces and select members from the ranks to fill those posts.

Alexander recalled it was serendipity that made him a part of the Manhattan Project that developed the atomic bomb during World War II. He was serving in the Army Air Corps at the time, and was one of the individuals ordered to go to Tennessee.

Alexander was born on a farm near Potomac-Jamesburg in Vermilion County in 1917. Prior to the war he had obtained degrees from Illinois State Normal and the University of Illinois. When the United States entered the war, he joined the air corps.

He arrived at the massive installation, known as Clinton Engineer Works, in 1943. The complex was located on 59,000 acres near Knoxville. A city was growing around the plant when he arrived, and he recalled there was a sea of mud. Construction at the site continued non-stop, and at its peak reached 75,000 workers. The buildings that housed the production facilities were substantial, constructed of brick and concrete, but many of the workers were housed in tiny structures known as “hutments.” Up to four people were placed in these buildings of less than 300 square feet.

Alexander noted there was abundant security at the installation, and people were warned not to talk about what they were doing there to anyone, including their co-workers. He was informed the plant was enriching uranium, but noted he was never told what it was to be used for, and it was never discussed. His own theory was a new fuel was being developed to be used by the military. He worked at the Beta process where fuel was enriched to weapons grade.

Text Only
Local News
  • Children’s play set for weekend

    July 23, 2014

  • Westville council limits parking on two streets

    Village trustees approved an ordinance Tuesday night to restrict parking on two village streets.

    July 23, 2014

  • Children’s show auditions set

    July 23, 2014

  • Police, Fire Reports

    July 23, 2014

  • Veedersburg council to replace air conditioner at city hall

    Town council members learned Tuesday the air conditioning system at the town hall and fire station needs to be replaced.

    July 23, 2014

  • Health Overhaul Subsi_Morr.jpg Courts split on health law clash WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama’s health care law is snarled in another big legal battle, with two federal appeals courts issuing contradictory rulings on a key financing issue within hours of each other Tuesday.But the split rulings don’t necess

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Robbery suspect gets 13 years DANVILLE — A man accused of robbing the Oakwood adult book store earlier this year was sentenced Monday to prison.Joel Frazier, 28, of Danville, appeared in Vermilion County Circuit Court on Monday on three separate cases. He was sentenced to a total

    July 23, 2014

  • Police Report Incidents reported to police include:DanvilleFriday:Theft in the 1100 block of Meadow Street.Saturday:Theft in the 800 block of East Madison Street.SaturdayCriminal damage, attempted battery and aggravated discharge of a firearm in the 500 block of S

    July 23, 2014

  • Fire Calls Firefighters responded to the following calls:Monday, 9:59-11:05 a.m. — A natural gas leak at 22 S. Kansas Ave.Monday, 12:36-12:47 p.m. — A medical call in the 1200 block of Cleveland Street.Monday, 1:52-2:58 p.m. — A natural gas leak at 22 S. Kansas

    July 23, 2014

  • State's attorney drops murder charges DANVILLE — Murder charges filed against a Danville man were dropped Monday during Vermilion County Circuit Court proceedings.The Vermilion County State’s Attorney’s Office motioned to drop the charges of first-degree murder filed against Edward Woodf

    July 23, 2014

E-edition
Spring 2014 Photos


Buy these photos and more via Smugmug

AP Video
Ariz. Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution Began Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Former NTSB Official: FAA Ban 'prudent' EPA Gets Hip With Kardashian Tweet Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands Biden Decries Voting Restrictions in NAACP Talk Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's US, UN Push Shuttle Diplomacy in Mideast Trump: DC Hotel Will Be Among World's Best Plane Crashes in Taiwan, Dozens Feared Dead Republicans Hold a Hearing on IRS Lost Emails Raw: Mourners Gather As MH17 Bodies Transported Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament
NDN Video
LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy Prince George Turns 1 and is Already a Trendsetter Train Collides With Semi Truck Carrying Lighter Fluid Kanye West Tells-All on Wedding in "GQ" Interview Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Scarlett Johansson Set To Marry In August New Star Wars Episode XII X-Wing Revealed Obama: Putin must push separatists to aid MH17 probe Michigan inmates no longer allowed to wear orange due to 'OITNB'
Must Read