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The saga of Alvira continues...

October 14, 2013 - Barb Barrett
I attended the movie, "Surrender! The Sudden Death of Alvira" the last Monday in September and this movie has been haunting me ever since. The Community Arts Center was fully packed, some were not able to get in as they were waiting to purchase tickets. Bill Poulton, I owe you a big thank you for talking me into getting mine a month in advance. I found the movie compelling in the sense that just about everyone in the audience had some kind of connection to the story, and the controversial buzz didn't stop afterwards. It is still going. For you see, not only was a village destroyed but the land could possibly be no longer used for farming due to the manufacturing of explosive materials on the site. Traces of uranium have been found and the Ordnance Works was only there for a short time, but over 10,000 people were employed there. Many did not know what their mission was or that the land they were working upon, was taken from the townspeople by eminent domain because our country was in war at the time. The movie brought forth many memories from those who were there. Keep in mind that those who experienced this time period (1941 to 1945) were very young, many were just children. But they remember what happened to their parents and their families. And for those who worked at the Ordnance, they too recollected the huge industrious manufacturing site that was built on the once known village of Alvira. I took my mother to the film. When she was young, she was led to the Ordnance by government officials after she excelled in a typing and shorthand test. She had just graduated from High School and went to work in the administrative building as a secretary for the commander. There she met my father who was a guard, as many were. The facilities, over 450 buildings, were guarded 24/7. The factory was soon destroyed after the war and little was left behind but a few remaining bunkers, some foundations, an old church and a graveyard of Revolutionary War heroes and Alvira's ancestors. But the people's stories will live forever, and we would love to hear yours if you have one. Please write us or call. Carol Shetler, who also attended the movie, interviewed more participants who were connected to the broken community, and she has revealed what they said. But where did all that TNT go, I wonder.


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