June 15, 1967: the lab’s beginning

Laboratory Director Robert R. Wilson and Deputy Director Edwin L. Goldwasser stand in a model of the Main Ring tunnel in the lab’s offices at Oak Brook Executive Plaza. Photo: Argonne National Laboratory

Forty-seven years ago this Sunday (June 15, 1967), the lab’s earliest employees and a few employees from the Atomic Energy Commission and DUSAF (the architectural and engineering firm responsible for much of Fermilab’s construction) moved into the lab’s first offices.

These offices were located on the 10th floor of the newly built Oak Brook Executive Plaza on 1301 W 22nd St., Oak Brook, Illinois. At the time, there was only one tower at Oak Brook Executive Plaza, and there were far fewer buildings near it than there are today, giving these pioneers an unobstructed view of the Illinois farmland. The building was selected for its convenient location between the site chosen for the National Accelerator Laboratory at Weston, Illinois, and O’Hare International Airport. Conditions were Spartan; for its first few weeks of operation, the Oak Brook office lacked furniture and office partitions.

According to the June 16, 1977, issue of the Village Crier commemorating the lab’s 10th anniversary, the lab employees present on that Thursday morning were Frank T. Cole, Tom L. Collins, Cy Curtis, Don R. Getz, Edwin L. Goldwasser, J. Luniak, Al Maschke, Don Poillon, A. Linc Read, Robert R. Wilson and Don Young. AEC employees present were Fred Mattmueller, Larry Mohr and Minerva Sanders. DUSAF employees present were William Alexander, M. Warner and E. Parke Rohrer. William Brobeck, a consulting engineer, was also present.

You can read more about the laboratory’s early days in the Universities Research Association annual report for 1967.

from the Fermilab History and Archives Project