Mary Edler and Arthur Dwight Chaffee Scholarship
By Joseph Chaffee
Art Chaffee, a powerful six-foot, broad-shouldered Connecticut native, began his civil/mechanical engineering career building the massive oil docks at Galveston, Texas. Galveston was hot, humid and below water level, particularly during frequent hurricanes. The weak need not apply.
At the start of World War II, Art went to work for the Manhattan Project building the Atomic Bomb Oak Ridge, Tennessee. This was a job where plans were made as the steel columns went up. The scientists at Los Alamos hadn’t even invented a workable bomb, but the engineers had to dream up a plant to manufacture one. One criterion was: “Don’t blow up the plant.” Einstein had written President Roosevelt that the Germans had started atomic experiments. The pressure was intense. The bomb was invented, built, tested and finally exploded over Hiroshima just eleven weeks before the invasion of Japan was to start, an invasion that was estimated to cost 200,000 American casualties.
After the war, Art returned to Connecticut as Superintendent of Mechanical Trades at Scovill Manufacturing Company in Waterbury. Scovill was the largest independent brass company in the world at that time. Oddly coincidental, Scovill had the same 150 buildings as the Hiroshima arsenal.
When Scovill shut down after approximately 175 years, it had become the longest dividend-paying company in America. Former employees like Art, late in their careers, had to find jobs. Art began to build houses in Woodbury. They were more than houses, they were works of art. And they were beautifully engineered. They were generally low and interesting. They fitted into the landscape. They were Art Chaffee’s personal monuments, and they gave warmth to Woodbury.
His wife Mary was active in the church and local gardening and arts groups.
Scholarship Fund, therefore, takes great pride in
commemorating a scholarship to one of its outstanding
citizens, Arthur Dwight Chaffee Jr.