Archivist from Fermilab responds to my inquiry

Following the discovery last week that Purdue University had proposed in the 1950s the land now known as Eagle Creek Park for a Nuclear Particle Accelerator, I wrote to and received a reply from the Archivist for Fermilab. At some point I may research further why the Indianapolis area site was not suitable but for now I am just filing the following for future research.:

My reason_for_request: Area History Project

request: Adrienne, it has recently been brought to my attention that Purdue and the State of Indiana originally proposed a site for your facility in central Indiana in the 1950s. This is chronicled in R.B. Stewart and the History of Purdue University and I have written about it at http://www.historictraderspoint.org. Do you know how/why sites were considered, evaluated, and chosen? I am interested in knowing more about the procedures leading up to the selection of Batavia (and the elimination of Indiana). Thanks so much.

Thanks for your inquiry. Your blog entry was quite enjoyable and interesting to read. I’ll try to answer your question briefly. I don’t have the Indiana proposal for the 200 BeV accelerator (that ultimately became Fermilab) so I don’t know much about the Indiana site that was submitted in the proposal. Your local library or state archives might have newspaper articles about the subject c1965-66. There are a few books that deal with the site selection: Poliscide (Lowi and Ginsberg), Science Policy Making in the US and the Batavia Accelerator (Jachim), and The Politics of Pure Science (Greenberg). I have also co-authored a recent book entitled Fermilab, which has a chapter about the site selection issue. The Atomic Energy Commission prepared a press release explaining the selection of the Weston site in Illinois in late 1966. I could send you a copy of the press release but it might not mention Indiana since that site didn’t make it into the finals. Some of the selection criteria were: a sufficient amount of land, a large enough airport located close enough to the selected site for physicists from around the world to reach it in a reasonable time, good/stable geology, necessary water sources, etc. I think proximity to Chicago was a plus, even though Argonne National Lab was already here. The MURA effort did make a difference. The chapter in our book explains much more. You’ll be glad to know that Purdue physicists have conducted research at Fermilab since the 1970s.

Please let me know if you’d like more info,

Adrienne Kolb
Fermilab Archives

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About Ross Reller

I am pleased you have expressed interest in learning more about the historic Traders Point area in Indianapolis, Indiana. From 1980 to 1982 I was employed in the PR department at Conner Prairie Museum in Hamilton County. There I learned about William Conner, an important figure in Indiana's pioneer days. A decade later I became interested in the history of the Traders Point area and was surprised to learn that William Conner had been the first land owner in the area. In 1823 he acquired, through the Federal land office in Brookville, a patent for an 80 acre tract carved by Eagle Creek and an Indian trail that was about to be named the first toll roadway through the township (Lafayette Road). Thirty years later a village took shape within this tract. A grain mill on the creek, houses, churches, stores, restaurants, and two gas stations would take shape here in the creek valley hamlet of Traders Point. By 1962 all improvements (except a farmer's co-op) had been removed by the Indianapolis Flood Control Board to make way for Interstate 65 and a new reservoir. This blog is dedicated to preserving evidence of this historic area but I will occasionally use it to discuss related topics. To activate this follow, simply click the confirm button below. If you don't want to follow, ignore this message and we'll never bother you again. I am also a member of the Old Pleasant Hill Cemetery, a non profit association still selling burial plots for those who would like to spend all eternity in Traders Point, and I am an officer in the Pike Township Historical Society and the Traders Point Association of Neighborhoods.
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