Members of the Ellis County Museum celebrated the 25th anniversary of Ellis County being awarding the Superconducting Super Collider (SSC) project as its program for this year’s annual board meeting.
Joining the members were several of the local officials and employees that had a part in bringing the project to the area.
“1988 was an exciting year in the history of Waxahachie. We learned we were awarded the Superconducting Super Collider Project,” Edwin Farrar said. Farrar, wearing his red golf shirt with the super collider symbol on it, gave a Power Point presentation of the project’s history.
“In March 1985 I was at a reception in Arlington, Texas of the North Texas Commission. That was the first I heard of the supercollider. Then in 1987 I received a letter from the North Texas Commission saying there was an interest in putting the project in Waxahachie. I immediately took the news to Buck Jordan,” Farrar said.
With safety concerns, Farrar said the project was presented to several scientists. How safe is this? Will there be any bad effects? Farrar said these were the questions being asked.
Learning there were no dangers to the citizens, the project was then discussed with all the area cities.
“At that point we had the support of all the city leaders in the area,” Farrar said.
Farrar went on to describe the many meetings and efforts to win the contract for the county. “There was another location considered, Amarillo. Our location to major highways, housing availability and access to airports and geological formations that were good for the tunnel construction were all considerations in our favor,” Farrar said.
“In 1988 we were named the site for the super collider. We were at the right place at the right time. It was to be a very exciting project,” Farrar said.
The project’s history continued with Farrar telling about the next steps of the project with maps being made by Albert Haliff and Associates.
A part of the project’s criteria was that the 54.1-mile circumference tunnel could not cross under any residential area and could not be under any cemetery or a body of water.
“We came close to Lake Bardwell,” Farrar said.
“Once the map was finalized, a series of many public hearings and presentations to sell the project to the public were held. We traveled in my Suburban because it was big enough to carry the map from meeting o meeting. We even carried it to Austin to sell the project,” Farrar said.
“We had super collider fever. We had bumper stickers, posters, shirts and pins all supporting the project,” Farrar said.
“It’s Here,” was the headline of the Nov. 20, 1988 edition of the Waxahachie Daily Light.
Farrar’s presentation went on through the history of the project until it was killed on Oct. 31,1993 by a Congressional bill signed by then President Bill Clinton.
“How appropriate that the super collider ended on Halloween,” Farrar said.
Joining in on the historic presentation was project physicist Frank Guy.
“I was called while I was in Los Alamos, N.M. to build this machine. I couldn’t resist. This was going to be the biggest scientific machine in the world,” Guy said.
Guy went on to describe how the atom smasher would have worked and how the project would help in future scientific discoveries.
“Imagine two concrete tunnels 54-miles in circumference with two metal tubes inside that are only a few centimeters in diameter,” Guy said. “When our Congress cancelled the project, the scientific initiative moved to Europe. We could have been on the leading edge of research, 10 years ahead of them.”
Also speaking to the group was engineer Joe Bhore.
“I was brought here to help build the super collider,” Bhore said.
Bhore told the audience that he was comfortable in his house in California, had a good job and really wasn’t looking to move.
“I attended several meetings here, looking at the project and meeting with experts before I said yes,” Bhore said.
Before the project was cancelled, Bhore said he had five tunnel borers digging the 54-mile tunnel underground.
“We were running ahead of schedule when we got the word the project had ended. We tried to tell (Congress) this was a very necessary project for the country, but those in Washington did not listen,” Bhore said.
“We feel this is an important part of Ellis County history and will always be,” Bhore said.
Supporting Bhore’s feelings was Global High School science and chemistry teacher Evelyn Restivo, who has worked at the Hadron collider in Switzerland.
“Science is alive and well in Ellis County. It did not die with the super collider. The science is still here with us,” Restivo said.