The US Government’s Top Secret Town

In 1942, as part of the Manhattan Project, the U.S. government acquired nearly 70,000 acres of land in Eastern Tennessee and established a secret town called Oak Ridge. At its height in 1945, over 75,000 people lived and worked in Oak Ridge with a primary focus on nuclear materials research and production.

Your Stake in the Atom photo by Ed Westcott

Ed Westcott with Equipment

60-0799 Security Bill Board photo by Ed Westcott

The architecture firm Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) was contracted to provide a layout for the town and house designs… which soon had 300 miles of roads, 55 miles of railroad track, ten schools, seven theaters, 17 restaurants and cafeterias, and 13 supermarkets. A library with 9,400 books, a symphony orchestra, sporting facilities, church services for 17 denominations, and a Fuller Brush Company salesman served the new city and its 75,000 residents.wikipedia


Roof Tops City of Oak Ridge  DOE photo by Ed Westcott

57-1239 photo by Ed Westcott

77-219-17 DOE photo by Frank Hoffman

78-339 DOE photo by Frank Hoffman

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge office recently started to digitize their collection of archival photos – you can see more in their photostream!

All photos by doe-oakridge.