In the 1980s, Waxahachie, Texas was an exciting place to be. Located in Ennis County, the city attracted many companies to set up headquarters within its limits, including TXI, Chaparral Steel, Owens-Corning Fiberglass, Chevron-Gulf Chemical, Foster Forbes Glass, Tyler Refrigeration, and Leggett and Platt. The city’s population was around 15,000, and its numbers standed to gain a great deal. In 1987, plans for the Superconducting Super Collider (SSC) were approved by President Reagan, and the DFW area was chosen for the site. Waxahachie (and Dallas-Fort Worth as a whole) prepared for a massive influx of project workers, scientists, and other SSC personnel and their families.
The Superconducting Super Collider Proposal Collection provides proposals from the various Texas cities who hoped to provide a home for the project. The winning proposal from the Dallas-Fort Worth SSC Authority (entitled “A Look into Tomorrow: The Plan to Bring the Superconducting Super Collider to Texas”) is a feature of this collection. Information about Ellis County and the rest of the Southwest Metroplex can be found in the proposal, which spans hundreds of pages. Other information includes financial incentives to workers on the project, geology and tunneling information, regional resources, environmental factors, regional conditions, and utilities.
It was obvious that North Texas wanted the SSC badly. The reasons are clear. The project would provide an enormous economic boost, and it would establish DFW as one of the world’s leading scientific research communities. The proposal details a fundraising plan to help offset costs of the collider, which had an end goal of $1.5 million. Several local companies had already guaranteed large sums of money to the cause, including Dallas Biomedical Corps, University of Texas at Dallas’ Engineering School, University of Texas at Arlington’s Advanced Robotics Research Institute, the Dallas Art Museum, and the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing. The metroplex also promised incentives for employees of the Super Collider, such as discounted moving help and airfare, reduced interest rates on loans, and free child care services.
For more information about the fate of the Superconducting Super Collider project in Waxahachie, take a look at this earlier blog post. The Superconducting Super Collider Proposal Collection includes the proposals from all the Texas cities, including Dallas-Fort Worth and other regions. The project is a great example of DFW’s capabilities and aspirations. The fate of the project also provides insight into the political environment and its impact on scientific research.
-by Alexandra Traxinger Schütz