Dayton History to shed light on top-secret Mound work

Miamisburg education center scheduled to open in 2017.


Information, photographs and memories are being compiled to help document the Mound Laboratory breakthroughs that helped changed the course of the last century and continue to impact this one.

The work at the site overlooking Miamisburg east of the Great Miami River from the 1940s until it was phased out in the 1990s was cloaked in “international intrigue” as the heavily-secured center researched atomic and nuclear weapons, and how to advance space exploration.

Now, the research is about the Mound as Dayton History and the Mound Development Corp. plan to open a multi-media education center there in October 2017 to preserve the its legacy.

“Every day we’re learning more and more about these incredible things that because they were top-secret, nobody was talking about them,” said Brady Kress, president and chief executive officer of the Carillon Park-based Dayton History.

“This is almost like opening a door you didn’t know about in Grandmother’s attic,” he said.

Dayton History operates other celebrated area sites, such as the Hawthorn Hill home of Orville Wright and the Paul Laurence State Memorial. But Kress said the Mound work is “unlike any project that we’ve ever talked about here at Carillon. What they were doing down there was pretty intense.”

The education center was announced last week by U.S. Rep. Mike Turner.

“The Mound and the men and women who worked there have played an important role in our country’s history and more importantly our region’s,” the Dayton Republican stated.

Dayton History’s staff is conducting interviews, cataloguing documents and artifacts, and digitizing more than 80,000 images – a project likely to take five years, Kress said.

The workers’ stories will be a critical part of the center, he said. The secrecy involved in the process added an element not likely seen at other area workplaces at the time.

“Frigidaire, Delco or NCR – they certainly had projects that they were keeping secret because they were new initiatives, new inventions and things like that,” he said, but “I don’t know that anybody at Frigidaire was worried about Soviet spies making it into the lab.”

Specifically what will be featured is still being determined, but Kress said certain topics stand out:

-Why the Mound was established and its role in World War II with the Manhattan Project, which focused on the atomic bomb;

-The site construction, which included “hundreds of thousands of yards” of re-enforced concrete;

-The processing of atomic and radioactive materials;

-Life at the Mound.

“There definitely was kind of this international intrigue,” he said. “It’s an important part of how the U.S. won the Cold War.”

The center will be located in the Mound Business Park at 1075 Mound Ave., sharing a location with the Mound Science and Energy Museum, said Eric Cluxton, president of the MDC. All told, the museum and the center will be more than 10,000 square feet and consume two floors, he said.

The content of the center will determine how it will be designed, Cluxton said.

“Based on what needs to be displayed will dictate what kind of renovation, what kind of improvements to the building need to be had and what kind of display cases” the center will include, he said.

The center will serve as a site for workshops, programs and school tours, officials said.

“The ultimate goal is to try and drive traffic down to the actual Mound site,” Kress said, “so people get a chance to seek it where it happened.”


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Medical helicopter called to motorcycle crash in Springfield
Medical helicopter called to motorcycle crash in Springfield

Careflight was called after a crash involving a single motorcycle occurred on Miracle Mile in Springfield early Wednesday. Crews were dispatched to the 1600 block around 2:35 a.m. where at least two riders were reportedly injured, per initial reports. We will continue to update this story with more details. 
3 hospitalized after vehicle strikes pole in Dayton
3 hospitalized after vehicle strikes pole in Dayton

Three people were taken to a local hospital after the vehicle they were in crashed into a utility pole on Free Pike early Wednesday, according to Dayton police.  The injury crash was dispatched just after 1 a.m. in the 4200 block, prompting up to three medics to respond to the scene. All three occupants’ injuries are believed to be non-life...
WPAFB Wednesday Weather: Fog, showers possible mid-week
WPAFB Wednesday Weather: Fog, showers possible mid-week

WRIGHT PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE—Waking up mild and muggy with temperatures rising out of the 60s, according to Storm Center 7 Meteorologist McCall Vrydaghs. There’s a slight chance of a stray shower before 9 a.m., along with a few areas of patchy fog possible. The afternoon will be very warm and muggy with highs in the upper 80s. Partly...
State leaders cite 16 ‘challenges’ in Dayton schools that need work
State leaders cite 16 ‘challenges’ in Dayton schools that need work

With potential state takeover one year away, Ohio Department of Education officials on Tuesday told Dayton Public Schools they need to improve in leadership, curriculum, hiring and other areas. A team of ODE officials gave the school board a long “district review” presentation — which was not on Tuesday’s meeting agenda &mdash...
A colorful story: Welcome to Leslie’s house
A colorful story: Welcome to Leslie’s house

The minute you meet Leslie, your heart is happy. She is one of those people who radiates sunshine. So when I found out Anne, one of our designers, was going to be working with Leslie to help her bring all that light and love to her interior design, I couldn’t wait to see what this talented team would come up with. Like Leslie, the story of her...
More Stories