Evansville’s links to the first detonation of the atomic bomb in 1945

It is no exaggeration to suggest that there are two worlds: one before and one after the detonation of the atomic bomb.

Interestingly, there are two southern Indiana connections to J. Robert Oppenheimer, leader of the Manhattan Project.

Evansville baseball legend Don’s uncle Joseph Fabian Mattingly was present on July 6, 1945 when the “device” was successfully tested in Alamogordo, New Mexico. The United States dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima on August 6 and Nagasaki on August 9, and Japan surrendered from World War II shortly after.

“It was very bright,” Joseph Fabian Mattingly told the Evansville Courier in 1995. “When it lit up the sky, the colors were beautiful: violet and purple. It was a nice sight. We were on the side of a mountain about 17 miles.