Rare uranium had to be processed. Giant machinery need for the bomb's
development was designed and built on a piece-by-piece basis. Work on the project was
conducted in thirty-seven installations spread over thirteen different states. Two new towns,
Hanford, Washington; and Oak Ridge, Tennessee were created just to produce the material that
would fuel the bomb. By 1945 Oak Ridge had been transformed from an isolated valley holding
a few farms into the fifth largest city in Tennessee.
The actual design and construction of the bomb was carried out at another new town: Los
Alamos, New Mexico. Before the war Los Alamos had been a tiny ranch used as a boy's school.
With breathtaking speed, houses and buildings were erected at Los Alamos. Soon the town had
its own newspaper, schools and a population of four thousand. Most Los Alamos residents were
scientists and their families. The head of the Los Alamos project was the brilliant but stern J.
Before dawn on August 6, 1945, a single B-29 named Enola Gay took off from Tinian
Island, about fifteen hundred miles south of Japan. The bomber was loaded with one whale-