FERMILAB: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow
Students' Views

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by Josh

Weston was a very interesting town. It was an attempt to build an affordable housing development out in the country. It was a new idea at the time. Only a small part of the plan was ever actually built. The homes were small ranch houses in a planned community. There were two groups that lived on what was soon to be the Fermilab site. One group was the farmers who lived on the large parcels of farmland, some 6,700 acres, around the site, yet outside of Weston. The other group was the townspeople of Weston.

When the site was submitted to the U.S. Government by the State of Illinois as a place to put the 200 GeV Accelerator Project, the whole 6,800 acres was called "The Weston Site."

On December 16,1966, the townspeople and the farmers realized they would also have to give up their homes for the site which the state would then turn over to the U.S. for the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) to develop into the National Accelerator Laboratory (NAL). The AEC is now called the Department of Energy. The NAL became Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in 1974.

Student authors visited one of the original Weston homes.

There were 74 homes in Weston and 56 farm families living on a total of 151 parcels of land who had to move so the site could safely be constructed. There were no schools in Weston, so the kids had to take a bus to a school in Warrenville. There was no commercial development in Weston – just homes – so the people got food from West Chicago and Winfield.

The choice of Weston hinged on two factors: 1) its proximity to rail and air terminals in Chicago, and 2) the fact that it would be able to draw on the AEC's Argonne National Laboratory, 15 miles away, for technical support.