Not My Photo! by Dave Hileman

The “secret city” of Oak Ridge where part of the atom bomb was developed - the Manhattan Project, was a gated, fenced quasi-military complex and one thing absolutely forbidden was a camera. No matter who you were no cameras were allowed inside the gates. Except one. Ed Westcott was the official and only photographer for years in Oak Ridge, He photographed the famous, the experiments, and the scores of people living and working behind the gates. He photographed Oppenheimer and high school dances, Secretary of States Stinson and kids sledding, experiments in the labs and joyous celebration at the end of the war. He took and developed in four years over 15,000 photos, good, carefully composed photos and he was 20 years old when he started. Think about this every photo you have ever seen about Oak Ridge from its start in 1942 to the beginning of declassification in 1946, Ed took.

Manhattan Project NHS

Actually it is my photo of a photograph of Ed the photographer:)

Actually it is my photo of a photograph of Ed the photographer:)

Cost by Dave Hileman

A quiet oasis in the midst of the cacophony of traffic, tourists (of whom I was one) and aircraft lifting and landing. The Korean War Memorial is not the most visited in DC, certainly not one of the more photographed but one of the more serene in contrast to any day, any hour of the war in commemorates.

I hope your week is more meditative as this photo and less like the chaos that surrounds it.

Korean War Memorial


A Little Green Today by Dave Hileman

These aspens are putting on a little green, appropriate for the 17th of March. Despite the green beer, leprechauns and four leaf clovers, St. Patrick was an amazing man well deserving of honor as an evangelist and, as one books phrases it, the key role in “How the Irish Saved Western Civilization.”

“But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.” 2 timothy 4:5 NLT

Great Basin National Park, Nevada


Skyline by Dave Hileman

Boston viewed from Georges Island a part of the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area. Georges is one of three with 19th century forts.

Boston Harbor Islands NRA


Frozen by Dave Hileman

The color of these statues and the fact that they are frozen in mid-stride is a reflection of the harsh winter conditions where these men fought. It was the brutal cold that most of the books I have read made so vivid in the stories of this war. Hero’s all.

Korean War Memorial


Moody Day by Dave Hileman

Walking along the coast beside the Ocean Drive at Acadia. The day was off and on rain and windy, certainly cool but even so the place is beautiful and you feel renewed here.

Acadia National Park


Monument & Memorial by Dave Hileman

The Korean War was fought in the early 1950’s and ended with an armistice that created the Korean Demilitarized Zone along the 38th parallel. The war is technically not ended and potential conflict points are still dangerous. South Korea has become a prosperous industrial nation and the North frozen in the past and barely able to sustain itself.

Korean War Memorial

Washington Monument (background)


Cold Water by Dave Hileman

This is another of the Redrock Falls near the Many Glacier area of Glacier National Park. The stream is fed from several glaciers high up in the mountains and it is really cold. And a very neat teal color. This was a nice short hike, about 2 miles but it was a cold day and the weather was getting worse, by morning it was high 20’s and snowing. Not too bad for the end of June. We hope to stop here on the Alaska trek.

Glacier National Park

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Thirsty (2 photos) by Dave Hileman

The first photo is a monument to the Angel of Saint Marye’s Heights. He provided water to wounded troops from either side at great personal risk. The second is a reenactor who just needed a drink on a hot afternoon demonstrating close order drills.

Fredericksburg National Battlefield Park

Monocacy National Battlefield

“Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.” John 4:10 NLT


Not Quite Ready by Dave Hileman

This is the first device Edison invented that recorded sound, ie the first iPod - or record player, or phonograph. Well, the prelude to all of those is this device that used a tin cylinder. I don’t think Edison would be too amazed with what we have now that he first explored, I believe if he were to “come back” he would expect that years later things would be different and better. I actually think the first thing he would do is take one apart and begin to understand how to make it better.

Thomas Edison NHS


Reminder by Dave Hileman

One of my grandfathers fought with the 103rd Pennsylvania Volunteers. This tiny plaque is placed near the Confederate line in KInston, NC, about the location of the primary Confederate batteries. He was wounded by those barrages when a shell exploded in a tree over his head and a branch “fell and crushed his arm” (103rd Regimental History). He was taken to New Bern and after recovery sent on to Plymouth, NC, where he was captured and sent to Andersonville Prison. He survived and returned home to Western Pennsylvania.

Not much of the battle here is preserved, a replica church and a few earthernworks and a smattering of historical signs are about all you can find. And this small, deteriorating sign in a weedy field that likely means little to most people.


220 (3 photos) by Dave Hileman

Oak Ridge was the “secret city” in WWII where a part of the first atomic bomb was developed. This whole city was created and “hidden” in a valley 30 miles northwest of Knoxville. The museum and VC shares space with the Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge and is housed in one of the original school buildings built in the frantic expansion from four tiny sleepy rural communities to a bustling purposeful city. Driving around Oak Ridge you can see original buildings and houses across the town. Much of it is gone but lots still here to view. Amazing project. Not especially scenic - so a bit tough to get “nice” photos but what a great place to visit. I knew several people from our six plus years in the area who worked both during and after WWII. This is number 220 in our NPS quest.

Manhattan Project National Historic Site


219 by Dave Hileman

This is number 219 in our quest to photograph in all 418 National Park Service sites. Obed Wild and Scenic River stretches along the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee through gorges that reach up to 500-feet. It is only an hour from West Knoxville and even though I lived here for three years did not even know about this river. The drive takes you past Oak Ridge, the WWII “Secret City” and with in another 40 minutes you are in what feels like another world. We were only able to explore a small portion because of the flooding and most of it is only accessible by kayak. Which we did not have! On another trip we will go to a different portion where there are more hikes. Still quite a neat place.


Almost by Dave Hileman

Spring is only three weeks away. We stopped for a very short walk on the Blue Ridge Parkway Thursday just to stretch our legs, had been in the car about 4 hours at that point. As we walked along a stream near Mabry’s Mill we notice lots of buds and both large and just getting started on the rhododendron. A few more cold days for sure but lots of flowers poking up, trees already in blossom and the nice weather last week in Tennessee are all welcome.

“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1 NLT


This Old House - Week One by Dave Hileman

Our last stop on the “house” tour is the massive Vanderbilt Mansion in Hyde Park, NY. Visually impressive is was designed to simply awe people with the wealth that was on display. Inside is it impersonal and cold. My least favorite of this week’s tour, except for the location which is breathtaking. I like the “lodge: they built to stay in when they came to see progress on the mansion. It too is large but much more warm and cozy.


This Old House - Week One by Dave Hileman

Our fifth stop is back to Pennsylvania and a small village in the eastern portion of the state that was dominated by iron making. This is the iron master’s home in the midst of the forge and homes of the iron workers. His was a highly skilled position often passed on from father to son as to determine the exact mixture of ingredients and temperatures needed to produce good iron.

Hopewell Furnace NHS


This Old House - Week One by Dave Hileman

Day four of our old house tour brings us to this home in Boston on Beacon Hill. It is now a part of the Boston African American NHS. This home is privately owned but the exterior has been restored. It is directly across the street from the African Church that was the center of Black culture and ground zero for abolitionists. The home is not representative of African American culture of the first half of the 1800’s for many in this area. But it was a part of the heritage that there were at this time very successful men and women of color that we sadly know little about.

Boston African American NHS