On November 28th, 1950, President Truman announced the plan to build the Atomic Energy Commission’s Savannah River Plant for the production of materials for the United States nuclear arsenal.
In 1998, CNTA organized the community-based 50th Anniversary Committee for the Savannah River Site (SRS), chaired by John Granaghan, former Plant Manager. Events kicked off in March 2000 with a press conference at the Aiken County (SC) Museum, featuring a traveling exhibit of memorabilia from the early construction of SRS. These artifacts included copies of official letters, local newspaper articles, pictures, and articles from the construction days. This link provides an abbreviated Calendar of Events.
An essay contest was conducted at the local middle schools. Winners included 1st place Chris Allen (7th Grade, Wardlaw Academy); 2nd place Sarah Stone (6th Grade, Wardlaw Academy); and 3rd place Amy Rhoden (8th Grade, Westminster Preparatory).
The highlight of the spring events was a Technical Symposium celebrating “50 Years of Excellence in Science and Engineering,” held May 17 at the Etherredge Center at the University of South Carolina – Aiken. Click on the following link for viewable and downloadable copies of presentations from the event: 50 Years of Excellence web page.
Gary Wein of the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory began a series of “eco-tours” in April, with a tour of Carolina Bays. This was followed by tours in May of Upper Three Runs Creek; in July a themed tour on “Coal: Problems and Solutions”; and in October, “Ecologist for a Day.” The Department of Energy also sponsored public tours of the Site.
Madame Curie made a brief visit to Aiken with the international exhibit, “The Legacy of Marie Curie: 100 Years of Science Innovation.” The exhibit was on display at the Aiken Center for the Arts before traveling to the Charleston (SC) Museum and the South Carolina State Museum in Columbia.
In June, Fort Discovery in Augusta (GA) opened a new exhibit in honor of the 50th Anniversary of SRS, including two parts: a 3-D laser show titled “The Illuminated Brain” and displays celebrating achievements by SRS.
September saw the Aiken premiere of the musical “I Don’t Live There Anymore” by Lawrence Holofcener and Gerard Kenney, first seen at the 1993 Spoleto Festival. The musical is based upon an incident in American history so insignificant as to pass unnoticed by historians, when the Government selected 300 square miles in South Carolina for its new facility, and in the process eliminated three communities, including an 80-year-old town. But “I Don’t Live There Anymore” is not about bombs or the eradication of a town, it’s about “love … young love requited, old love uncovered, and the sacrificial love of people for people.”
November also featured a reunion/luncheon for former residents of the towns of Ellenton, Meyers Mill, and Dunbarton. Events concluded on the official anniversary, the 28th, with celebrations, music, speeches, and exhibits on the Augusta Riverwalk and the unveiling of the book The Savannah River Site at 50 during the CNTA’s annual Teller Lecture and Banquet.
50th Anniversary Sponsors
Silver Sponsors ($1,000 to $4,999)
50th Anniversary Committee
John Granaghan (Chair)
Dr. Tom Parkinson