Oak Ridge

Photo of the Day

Entrance to K-25, an uranium enrichment facility, 1945.

Birthplace of the Atomic Bomb

Top Secret City: Oak Ridge

The “Little Boy” bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima, was made with uranium-235 from Oak Ridge.

Here is a collection of historical photos from Oak Ridge, Tennessee, a town established by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1942 on an isolated farm. It was a secret location that became one of the most significant sites of the Manhattan Project.

Thousands of people who lived and worked in Oak Ridge, Tennessee during the 1940’s had no idea what they were actually doing every day, performing their tasks as directed without asking questions, surrounded by constant reminders that they needed to keep their traps shut or else. It wasn’t until the United States bombed Hiroshima in 1945 that they learned they were processing uranium as part of The Manhattan Project, many of them exposed to radiation for years.

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour on Dec. 7, 1941, the area that would become Oak Ridge was 59,000 acres of century-old farmlands and rural communities. But in 1942, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers purchased the land that would become the first and largest of the three?Manhattan Project?sites. But just two and a half years after Oak Ridge was founded in 1942, the city sky-rocketed to a population of 75,000, making it the fifth-largest city in Tennessee and the largest of the three Manhattan Project?sites.

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Photo Of The Day

Photo: Ed Westcott. Billboards across the town reminded the residents of Oak Bridge to stay tight-lipped and motivated for the job at hand? even if they didn?t understand what they were doing it for.

Photo: Ed Westcott.
Billboards across the town reminded the residents of Oak Bridge to stay tight-lipped and motivated for the job at hand? even if they didn?t understand what they were doing it for.

Oak Ridge Confidential

Cautionary billboards were posted all throughout town warning residents to never speak about their work. Some billboards also had a little extra motivation for people, who did not understand what they were doing it for.

Due to the sensitive nature of the work at Oak Ridge, the entire town was fenced in with armed guards and the entire place was a secret of the highest concern.

Before the fight to win women equal footing in the workplace, there was the fight against Hitler and Hirohito. In the depths of World War II, everyone in America had to pitch in, men and women alike. And in 1943 the government offered war jobs, lots of them, in a town called Oak Ridge, Tenn.

Where is it on a map? What do they do there? What will I do there? The government didn’t give any answers to those questions ? and still the recruits, many of them young women, streamed in.

The one thing they did know was that the work they were going to do there was going to help end the war.

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