b'C HAPTER F OURT H E P P L A NA R TYThere is nothing to get excited about.J.S. Gardner, Blackfoot legislatorI t must be at least stationan entirely new concept in the live. The Manhattan Project had builthistory of the worldout of nearly government towns at its isolatednothing. Soon construction workers nuclear sites, but this time the AEChumorous, if not pathetic, to the engi- would be flooding into the desert by the planned to let the private market pro-neers in charge.to observe so much thousands and looking for places to vide housing. Johnston needed all thefalderol, wrote the editor of the Arco nearby towns as allies. 2Advertiser. His scorn wasaimed at the Idaho Falls He and five AEC colleagues arrivedChamber of Commerce, in Idaho in mid-April. They had awhich had created a presump- lot of exploring to do. Besides sur-tuous new letterhead for its veying their hoped-for inheritancestationery. A map of the state from the Navy, they had to figureshowed Idaho Falls, designated out where they were going towith a heart, as the only city in house peopleand where theythe region and named The would settle their own IdahoAtomic City. The town was Operations field office, officiallygoing too far in its campaign to abbreviated as IDO. 3headquarter the AECs newatom plant. The AEC could not Leonard Johnston, born in Southpossibly be influenced, the edi- Dakota in 1911, cared little fortor felt, by the bowing and his given name and liked to bescraping of two-bit bigwigs in called Bill, after his father. Heany of the prospective towns of was a visionary and completelythe area. 1 unflappable, intense withoutbeing provocative. He had beenIf Leonard E. Johnston, the chief associated with very large pro-engineer-in-charge, felt either jects for most of his career. Heamusement or pathos as he sur- had worked on the U.S. Armyveyed the towns of southeast Corps of Engineers Ft. PeckIdaho, he never revealed it. He was Dam in Montana during the 1930s,supremely a diplomat, and this quality Bill Johnston, his wife, and their two children along eventually becoming executive officerwas to serve him often in the next five with the children of Arcos Mayor Winfield Marvel. of the Corps Ft. Peck District. Duringyears. He had to invent a reactor testing the war, the Corps sent him to Oak2 8'