James Edward Westcott was born on Jan. 20, 1922. in Chattanooga, Tenn., and grew up in Nashville. His father, Jamie, was an accountant on the Louisville & Nashville Railroad. His mom, Lucille (Inexperienced) Westcott, was a homemaker.
Ed’s curiosity in pictures took him as a teenage novice to Nashville within the early 1930s to shoot, for himself, a whirlwind look by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. He quickly realized to develop photos and constructed his personal darkroom. After highschool, he labored at native picture studios and for the Nationwide Youth Administration, taking photos of the Works Progress Administration’s efforts in Nashville.
He joined the Military Corps of Engineers in early 1942, photographing the development of hydroelectric vegetation, dams and army bases within the Southeast. Later that yr he was requested by the Corps to decide on between two new postings: Alaska or what would turn into Oak Ridge. He selected the latter due to his data of east Tennessee.
When he arrived, there was little to recommend the huge advanced it might turn into.
“We got here below an underpass, which was referred to as ‘Elza,’ after which they stated, ‘That is the mission,’ ” he instructed The Tennessean. “I didn’t see something happening and didn’t see the way it may very well be a mission.”
Mr. Westcott moved right into a small prefabricated home — a mannequin referred to as a Cemesto A — along with his spouse, Edith (Seigenthaler) Westcott, and his son, James Jr. When the Wescotts had extra youngsters, they moved into a bigger, Cemesto D, home, which he modernized and lived in for the following 65 years.
Oak Ridge — which might turn into a thriving metropolis (minus the barbed fencing) — was used after the warfare for presidency analysis below america Atomic Power Fee, and Mr. Westcott remained because the official photographer. In 1966, he turned to documenting the fee’s actions at its headquarters in Germantown, Md. He returned to dwell in Oak Ridge in 1977, the place he additionally did some native photographic and darkroom work till his spouse took sick. She died in 1996.