History of Oak Ridge in Photos

For anyone growing up in the East Tennessee area, the city of Oak Ridge has always been know as the “secret city”. And in 1942, as part of the Manhattan Project, the U.S. government acquired 70,000 acres of land in Eastern Tennessee and established a secret town called Oak Ridge. The name chosen to keep outside speculation to a minimum, because Oak Ridge served a vital role for the development of the atomic bomb. The massive complex of massive factories, administrative buildings and every other place a normal town needs to function, was developed for the sole purpose of separating uranium for the Manhattan Project. The completely planned community was designed by the architecture firm of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, and had a population of more than 70,000 people. Due to the sensitive nature of the work at Oak Ridge, the entire town was fenced in with armed guards and the entire place — much like the Manhattan Project in general — was a secret of the highest concern. Recently, the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge office recently started to digitize its collection of archival photos and share them through Flickr. Most of these photos were taken by Ed Westcott, the only person allowed to photograph the Oak Ridge reservation during the Manhattan Project.

Link: DOE’s Oak Ridge Photostream

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