Hanford Architect Honored in Richland
The man recognized as the architect of the Hanford site is honored in Richland on Saturday.
A statue of US Army Col. Matthew T. Matthias was dedicated in front of the Richland Public Library.
Speakers included Rep. Doc Hastings, Richland Mayor John Fox, and Matthias's son, Mike.
Matthias earned an Engineering degree from Wisconsin in 1930, and at the age of 34 was selected to find a site to produce plutonium for the Manhattan Project in 1942.
Under his supervision, three nuclear reactors and support facilities were built, including a town that quickly grew to 50,000 people.
It was the third largest city in the state at the time, and the state's first city with a four lane highway.
Col. Matthias helped design the city of Richland, including grocery stores, churches, baseball fields, and Richland High School. His son credits his love of people for the city's diversity today.
"I'm very proud. I think my pride is based on his pride for the city, so extremely proud and glad to see the reality that he experienced and was able to participate in expressed so beautifully in the world. It's a wonderful day for him and our family," said Mike Matthias.
Mike has followed in his father's footsteps and is also an engineer.
He points out that in 1942 engineers did not have the aide of computers, but relied on slide rules.
They still managed to build the B Reactor in just eleven months, ahead of schedule and under budget.
The entire Hanford Project cost $350 Million.
It was plutonium from the B Reactor that was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, in 1945 that helped bring an end to World War II.