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Nuclear Families: 1951

August 3, 1951. Oak Ridge, Tennessee. "Three Type 34 Houses -- 601 Michigan, 102 & 102½ Meadow Road." Photo by Jack Tarver for the Atomic Energy Commission. View full size.

August 3, 1951. Oak Ridge, Tennessee. "Three Type 34 Houses -- 601 Michigan, 102 & 102½ Meadow Road." Photo by Jack Tarver for the Atomic Energy Commission. View full size.


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Working on U-235, living in Type 34 house at 102½

And with 2.5 kids in the yard!

AEC housing

The Atomic Energy Commission built similar houses at the weapons lab in Los Alamos. The patterns changed over the years. The houses became larger and with more amenities in order to attract scientists whose families could afford better housing working for the private sector. After the occupants were able to purchase the houses, they proceeded to add garages, patios, second stories, extra bedrooms, etc. It is now hard to identify the original floor plans.The Los Alamos Historical Society published 'Quads Shoeboxes and Sunken Living Rooms---A History of Los Alamos Housing' by Craig Martin. Now out of print and hard to find.


I would love to know more about these homes! I tried Googling but honestly came up with nothing but this pictured repeated several times.

Anybody out there have information?

Come on in; don't mind the mess

Thanks Steve, for the link to the floor plan of Model 34. The accompanying specifications state this plan included an entrance porch, the door under which opened into the living room. The other door seen opened into a utility room.

Fast forward to the present -- the utility room door now appears to be the front door. You can remove two short walls and walk from the utility room door straight into the living room; but where did the washer [and dryer] get moved to? Or maybe they left the walls intact and you go through the kitchen to get to the living room? Or maybe the owner answers the door and tells you to go around?

They're Called Alphabet Houses in Richland, WA

Richland, WA was the town workers at the Hanford Site (where the plutonium was made) lived. A series of houses with letter designations were built, and most are still standing. Anybody who has lived in the area for any length of time knows just what it means when someone talks about an A House or an F House.

Baby Boomers

are alive, well and in great numbers in this post-WWII photo.

Type 34 houses

Wow. In 1951, I was living in just such a house, maybe 1.5 miles (crow-wise) from these. Same open-plan yards, with kids roaming free, and carefree.

There were multiple pop-up neighborhoods built around sleepy Oak Ridge to house the families of workers building and operating the uranium concentrating plant(s). Its surprising how little they have changed in 70 years. "My" house in the attached picture, in 2012.


Ah, the ubiquitous clotheslines of the 1950s. These were ever-present in all the neighborhoods of the '50s before the advent of dryers in every home.

Much greenery

This is about the same view in 2017, with several mature trees screening the houses on Meadow Rd. Since then, shrubs have grown to conceal even more.

Great headline

Cleverness obviously reached critical mass in coming up with the headline on this item. Good one!

Space versus Houses

If this were being built today, I wonder just how much open space there would be between the houses.


Model 34 -- 1206 sf, 1 bath, 3 bedrooms

Oil-fired heat, electric range and hot water heater, all built on a slab. Luxury living compared to many of the prewar housing photos seen here on Shorpy.

See Page 16.

Lean and fit Americans

Notice how lean and active everyone is compared to today.

Things have grown up in 70 years

All of these houses have been added on to and trees have been planted.

Now with fancy-schmancy driveways!

Not new, but improved:

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