ATOMIC TOURISM

„Predawn atomic fireballs and billowing mushroom clouds — plus the radioactive and political fallout accompanying them — are all part of Nevada’s long-time association with nuclear weapons testing.“
Before the 1950s, Las Vegas was still a small, seedy city for sinners. After being chosen to test the atomic bomb Las Vegas changed its image to being a city that was helping to protect against the cold war. The opportunity to have such a fireworks show was taken and atomic tourism became the norm. Beauty contests were held to find Miss Atomic Bomb, atomic cocktails were served, and casinos advertised the best spot in town to watch the mushroom cloud.

„The first nuclear experiment in Nevada lit up the desert sky on Jan. 27, 1951. In May 1953 the government triggered an aboveground nuclear blast code-named “Harry,” whose radioactive fallout blanketed not only the arid desert, but farm fields, homes, schools, factories and businesses across the country. The fallout even wiped out film at Kodak headquarters in Rochester, N.Y. Government agents washed cars and brushed (with whisk brooms) the clothes of residents of St. George, Utah. The government assured those residents everything was safe, but at least 4,390 sheep grazing in Utah died from radiation sickness. The government admitted nothing.“
I look forward to a discussion about this unconventional history of my hometown.

(Laura Hamann)
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