Atomic Snapshots: Wooden Lawn Chair

The wooden lawn chair can be found in the owner’s garage and must stay with the house.

Lieutenant General Leslie R. Groves, director of the Manhattan Project, lived in a modest home with his family in the Cleveland Park neighborhood of Washington D.C. from 1939 until 1948. Groves moved there to be near the National Cathedral School for Girls where his daughter, Gwen, went to school. Grace, his wife, worked at Garfinckel’s in Spring Valley.

Although the home has changed ownership many times, one thing remains with every occupant.

The current homeowner asked if we wanted to see something. He took us to the garage where the previous owner specifically told him that this must stay with the home to avoid “bad juju.” He claimed it has been with the home since it was built.

He went to a corner of the garage, reached over a couple bicycles, and pulled out a wooden lawn chair from between the wall studs.

“This,” he said, “has to stay with the house. It’s been here forever and has been passed down from owner to owner.”

Groves lived in the Cleveland Park neighborhood at this home from 1939-1948.

Maybe apocryphal, it’s entertaining to consider that the chair might have been used by Groves and his family to relax in the courtyard of their home.

Interview with Gwen Groves Robinson, Groves’ daughter, by the Atomic Heritage Foundation in 2013 (56 minutes)