2. Uranium for the Manhattan Project was stored in Chelsea

Atomic cloud over Hiroshima.
The photo of the bombing of Hiroshima has immortalized a divisive moment in history. Photo courtesy of National Archives Catalogue.

Although much of the research on the Manhattan Project took place at Columbia University, Chelsea also played a small but significant role in the development of the atomic bomb. On West 20th Street, three buildings once made up the Baker and Williams Warehouses, which housed thousands of tons of uranium. The federal government in the late 1980s and early 1990s cleaned the buildings of residual uranium, removing more than a dozen drums of radioactive waste.

The Baker and Williams Warehouses were used by the Manhattan Engineer District in the early 1940s to store uranium that had been shipped in secret to the nearby Hudson River docks. The uranium came from the Eldorado Mining and Refining Limited Company in Canada, which operated in relative secrecy. By 1946, over 4,000 tons of ore concentrate containing 1,100 tons of uranium oxide had been delivered to the Manhattan Engineer District. After being stores at the warehouse, the uranium would be sent to government facilities performing nuclear research.