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

Photo Friday – Historic Concord Village

Concord is an unincorporated community in Knox County, Tennessee, United States and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as an historic district. It is located in west Knox County, east of Farragut and west of Knoxville.

The Village of Concord began to develop in 1854. Before that time, the area was sparsely settled. Large farms were centered on the Tennessee River, and relied on a nearby settlement, Campbell’s Station, for trade and other urban needs. In 1853, construction of the East Tennessee and Georgia Railroad along the north bank of the Tennessee River caused a population and development shift to the area that became Concord.

Concord was founded and platted in 1854 on land owned by James M. Rodgers. Mr. Rodgers caused 55 lots to be laid out, and gave the new town the name Concord. He began to sell lots in 1855, but later moved to California. Shortly before he moved, he sold his land in the larger tracts that still exist in some sections of the village.

Concord developed rapidly after the arrival of the railroad. The first dwelling in Concord, a boarding house, was built by Shadrack Callaway. Combining the existing river transportation with the railroad made Concord the nucleus of several communities on the north side of the river, including Campbell’s Station, Loveville and Ebenezer.

By 1887 Concord was the second largest town in Knox County, second to Knoxville. The Village of Concord was a regional transportation center. Tennessee marble, crushed limestone, lime, logs, and farm produce were gathered at its public dock. Passenger ferries and commercial boats landed there. The railroad provided passenger connections to Knoxville and other cities. In addition to rail transportation, a paved road from Lenoir City to Knoxville traveled along the railroad from Lenoir City to what is now Olive Road. The road then followed what is now Olive Road to Loop Road, then to Concord Road and then north two miles to Kingston Pike. Kingston Pike was the main east-west road out of Knoxville from the early 19th century until Interstate 40/75 was completed through the area in the 1960s. This road network provided all-weather connections to other highways in the area.

In the early 20th century, the town had grown to include several general stores, a brickyard, lime kiln, inn, saloon, two livery stables, an undertaking establishment, two flour mills, a railroad depot, private schools, a bank, a post office, an ice cream parlor, a drug store, specialty shops, a barber shop and churches. In 1916, fire destroyed much of the business district but it was quickly rebuilt.

The Great Depression of the 1930s brought economic hardship to Concord. New building materials lessened the use of Tennessee marble, and caused the marble industry to go into a decline from which it has never recovered. The impoundment of Fort Loudon Lake inundated about one-third of the town (most of the business district) by 1944. Portions of the railroad were relocated to higher adjacent ground and continued to carry freight, but did not provide passenger service. The development of automobiles and new transportation routes also contributed to Concord’s slow growth.

In the 1970s the area began to rebound economically as it became a bedroom community for the fast growing city of Knoxville. Since then, residential development and land subdivision has continued apace, transforming Concord and its environs into an affluent urban community that has left behind much of its rural roots.

Photo Gallery: Historic Concord Village

Source: Rootsweb History

Photo Friday – Faunt Le Roy Elevator

Today’s photos are of a Faunt Le Roy Elevator. These photos were taken in an antique shop in downtown Sweetwater, TN.

This image is from the Sweet’s indexed catalogue of building construction, Volume 2
Author: Sweet’s Catalog Service — Publisher: Architectural Record Co., 1907

Photo Friday – Eugenia Williams House

The Eugenia Williams House is located at 4848 Lyons View Pike in Knoxville, TN. Built in 1940-41, the two-story brick house has 6,000 square feet but only three bedrooms. It also has a living room, dining room, gallery, library, kitchen, servants’ quarters and three-car garage.

The house’s design is a rarity in Knoxville, an example of Regency architecture, with bas-relief stone sculpture inside. It’s a credit to John Fanz Staub, maybe the best-known architect ever born in Knoxville. The grandson of a Swiss immigrant who was a Knoxville mayor and downtown developer, Staub made most of his own career in the Houston area, where his grand manor-style houses are still well known.

Heiress Eugenia Williams built the house in 1940-41, replacing a previous house she had inherited from her father, physician David Hitt Williams. Dr. Williams made his fortune underwriting the Coca-Cola distributorship in Knoxville, and Miss Williams inherited most of it when she was 29.

Divorced from a World War I veteran and childless, Eugenia Williams died in 1998. By the terms of a 1981 will, she bequeathed the property to the university “on condition that the said land not be subdivided or sold, in whole or in part, so long as there is a state-operated university in the vicinity of Knoxville.” Likewise, the will of Miss Williams’ father stipulated that the only way she could dispose of it was to will it to inheritors. Although she left her home and grounds to the University of Tennessee as a memorial to her father, neither had a connection to the university.

Miss Williams left the house in 1983 and spent her last years in a private hospital room. The nearest thing she had to family was the Roddys, Knoxville’s original Coca-Cola distributor family. When Miss Williams died at age 98, she left an estate of more than $20 million and no heirs. Her parents, a sister and a brother all died before her. The Roddys had the mansion boarded up, the furnishings removed and the gates locked.

The Eugenia Williams House has been placed on the Knox Heritage 2011 Fragile Fifteen List.

Additional Information: A Knoxville Manor ~~ KnoxNews Photo Gallery

Photo Friday – Lyons View School

During the early- to mid-1900s, Lyons View was a thriving African-American community with the school serving as the hub of many of its activities. Founded in 1906, the two-classroom Lyons View School served African-American students from first through eighth grade. Originally a wooden frame structure, the existing brick building was built circa 1949/1950 and provided an education for children from the nearby Lyons View and Slatey communities until the school system desegregated in 1965. Today, it is the home of the Knoxville Metropolitan Drug Commission.

Photo Friday – Bleak House

The Bleak House, also know as the Confederate Memorial Hall, is an antebellum Classical Revival style mansion of fifteen spacious rooms and wide halls in Knoxville, TN. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.

The house was first occupied by Robert Houston Armstrong and his wife, Louisa Franklin. It was built for the couple as a wedding gift by the bride’s father, Major L.D. Franklin. Robert Armstrong’s father, Drury Armstrong, gave them the land. The Armstrong’s named the house after Charles Dickens’ “Bleak House” novel of the same name.

During the siege of Knoxville by the Confederates under General James Longstreet, November 17 to December 4, 1863, Bleak House was the headquarters of General Longstreet and his staff. A sharpshooters unit, “The Elite Twenty”, occupied the house’s second-floor east-facing windows, as well as the tower.

On November 18 ,when the Federal line was 750 yards east of the house, Union Gen. William P. Sanders ordered Lt. Samuel Benjamin in Fort Loudon to put a cannon shot through the Bleak House tower to dislodge the sharpshooters. Called the “Prettiest Shot of the War” by the Federals, it hit the second floor of the house at its southeast corner. Portraits of three unnamed Confederates, drawn on one wall by an unknown soldier artist, are mute evidence today that soldiers were killed or wounded in the tower. The artist wrote under his pictures the line, “Men that were shot up here.”

Later that afternoon, Union General William P. Sanders was mortally wounded by a Confederate sharpshooter using a British Whitworth rifle. The Whitworth rifle cost 12 – 15 hundred dollars each at the time. The rifles were known to be used with telescopic sights; and, with their hexagonal bores, were accurate at over 1,000 yards.

During the fighting, Mrs. Armstrong and her daughters were confined to an upstairs bedroom for their safety. A sentry was instructed not to allow them downstairs without permission. Mrs. Armstrong once defied the sentry, and when she refused to return upstairs, he fired a warning shot into the stairway, where the .58 caliber minie ball remains today.

Photo Gallery: Bleak House

Photo Friday – Fidelity Building

The Fidelity Building is a four-story, three-bay brick office building on Gay Street in downtown Knoxville. Initially constructed in 1871 for the wholesale firm Cowan, McClung and Company, the building was home to Fidelity-Bankers Trust Company during the mid-twentieth century, and has since been renovated. The building was designed by architect Joseph Baumann. In 1984, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places for its architecture and its role in Knoxville’s late-nineteenth century wholesaling industry.

Cowan, McClung and Company was formed in 1858 by Knoxville merchants James H. Cowan, Perez Dickinson, and several members of the McClung family. During the years following the Civil War, the company became one of the most profitable in Tennessee as Knoxville’s wholesaling market grew exponentially. The company erected its four-story headquarters on Gay Street’s 500-block in 1871, and occupied the building until 1919. Another wholesale firm, Anderson-Dulin-Varnell, operated out of the building until 1929. The Fidelity-Bankers Trust Company occupied the building from 1929 until 1964.

The building’s first-story Gay Street facade, which reflects the 1929 remodeling, consists of an ashlar veneer, with a recessed entrance topped by an eagle-and-garland frieze. The rear of the building is largely unaltered from its 1871 design, the exception being a one-story addition added in the early 1980s. The building’s interior, which also reflects the 1929 remodeling, includes a central hall with gray marble walls and floors, and square Corinthian columns.

Informational Source: Wikipedia