While perhaps this belongs in Comments on Cecil’s Columns, it’s really a question, not a comment so I decided to put it here.
This column talks about the Philadelpha Experiment and the Manhattan Project as two of three “city projects” that took place during WWII*.
Do some people hold that there was a third “city project”? If so, what was the city and what was the project supposed to be?
*I kept having problems phrasing this question, since I know that the Manhattan Project was real, and the Phildelphia Experiment was not, at least not in the way that people think of the Philadelphia Experiment. IANAConspiracyTheorist or the like - just curious.
If the Manhatten Project is to be one of these special “city projects”, then there ought to be countless others. For the reason behind its name was rather conventional - indeed deliberately so - under the circumstances. It was proposed by Leslie Groves in line with the standard practice prevailing in the US Army Corps of Engineers at the time. Projects were refered to as “districts” and named after the city in which they were located. Since the bomb project happened to have its then main office in downtown NYC, Groves suggested that it be called the “Manhatten District”. The fact this gave no clue whatsoever to the nature of the project - and it was already realised that it wasn’t going to be geographically restricted to Manhatten - was an acknowledged advantage to this name.
Indeed I suspect that “Manhatten Project” is a postwar mutation of the name. The official designation during the war was “the Manhatten District”. (See Racing for the Bomb, Steerforth, 2002, p170, by Robert Norris.)
At a guess, Cecil’s questioner was refering to the Montauk Project. Some accounts conflate this with the Philadelpia Experiment, while others suggest it was a seperate project. Though, no doubt, equally fictional.