White Sands Missile Range Museum Exibits
Museum Logo
WHITE SANDS MISSILE
RANGE MUSEUM

Privacy and
Security Notice

MUSEUM HOME

GENERAL
INFORMATION

MISSILE PARK

OTHER MISSILES

INSIDE EXHIBITS

ARCHIVES

GUEST STORIES

WHITE SANDS
COMMANDERS

RANGE HISTORY

WHAT? WHO?

OLD-TIMERS
BULLETIN
BOARD


MISSILE  RANGE
HISTORICAL
FOUNDATION

WHITE  SANDS
PIONEER GROUP


WHITE SANDS
MISSILE RANGE
Home Page

US ARMY
CENTER OF
MILITARY HISTORY

OTHER LINKS


E-Mail: Museum Director
E-Mail: Webmaster

 

   

Photo 2 of 17
First Previous Next Last Museum Home Page

Model of McDonald Ranch House


     The house stood vacant until the Manhattan Project used it in July 1945. The scientists isolated the master bedroom and made it into a dust free, clean room. They sealed the windows, doors and all joints in the walls in an attempt to keep the ubiquistous grit out.

     The 19-killoton explosion at 5:30 a.m. on July 16 did not significantly damage the house. Windows and doors were blown out but the walls and the roof remained intact. The barn roof was greatly weakened by the shock wave and later collapsed.

     At the same time the light and shock from the explosion were seen and felt hundreds of miles away, windows were reportedly broken in Silver City, New Mexico.

     The house remained empty and deteriorating until 1984 when Maj. Gen. Fulwyler, White Sands Missile Range commander, arranged to have the house restored to its 1945 condition by the National Park Service. The house is now a part of the biannual tours to Trinity Site on the first Saturday in April and October.

     In addition to the house, project personnel used the water storage tanks to the east of the home. It was a long hot summer and they filled one of the tanks and used it as a swimming pool.

     There is another "McDonald" ranch house in the Trinity Site National Historic Landmark. When George was forced to leave his ranch in 1942 his brother Dave was also called upon to leave his property for the duration of the war. His ranch was about ten miles southwest of ground zero. Dave’s ranch became the site of base camp for the Manhattan Project people.

     Soldiers began arriving as early as December 1944 to begin setting up for the test of the first atomic bomb. They erected temporary quarters for over 200 men and constructed roads and instrumentation sites for the test.

     During the months of preparation, the soldiers were restricted to the site. They found recreation in hunting deer and antelope, playing volleyball and playing polo with brooms and a spare volleyball. The horses used for polo came from the mounted security detachment.

     Most of the onsite project people and a number of visitors watched the test from the Dave McDonald ranch. They were instructed to lie on the ground and not to look at the explosion directly until after the initial flash of light had subsided. They were each given a piece of welder’s glass to look through to prevent eye damage.

     All of the housing and other support buildings were removed from the base camp following the test. Today the Dave McDonald ranch is badly deteriorated after decades of neglect. Although it is part of the National Historic Landmark, it is not open to the public.