Oak Ridge, Tennessee - History (Go to Site Index)
Index for several other historical pages that tell the story of a Secret City - Oak Ridge, Tennessee, home of a major element of the Manhattan Project that led to the birth of the Atomic Bomb and ushered in the Nuclear Age.  You are encouraged to view each page to appreciate the magnitude of the historical impact of the unequaled series of events in the 1940's that forever changed our world. 

In addition, you will find pages that describe history in the making continuing even to today and into the future as Oak Ridge makes major contributions to our world and even beyond as we seek to understand our universe.  Oak Ridge, Tennessee had its beginnings in secret, but today is a leading contributor to great scientific and technical achievement proudly shared with the world. Oak Ridge is the home of a unique people who enthusiastically work to solve the world's most difficult problems.  It sits as a unique culture in the midst of Appalachia that both impacts the ends of the universe and the hearts of its local neighbors.  

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Site Index

Oak Ridge Today
TNVacation.com-Oak Ridge
Convention & Visitor Bureau
Oak Ridge Assoc. Universities
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Spallation Neutron Source
Y-12 National Security Complex
East Tennessee Technology Park
American Museum of Science and Energy
Health Physics Historical Instrumentation Museum Collection
Children's Museum of Oak Ridge

Related Links:
Oak Ridge Heritage & Preservation Association
Pellissippi Genealogical & Historical Society
Oliver Springs Historical Society

Ed Wescott photo taken the day Oak Ridge, Tennessee learned that World War II had ended.  The people had only recently learned of the historic role the "Secret City"  had played in the winning of  World War II. 

The Midtown Community Center is the present home of the Oak Ridge Heritage and Preservation Association.  It was originally a main community center for the Secret City - Oak Ridge, then "The Wildcat Den" for several years and then served a variety of uses before returning to its original use.

The Uranium 235 needed to fuel the Atomic Bomb was separated from the more plentiful Uranium 238 using "Calutrons" at Y-12. 

This photo shows six of the original "D-Coil" magnets. These magnets were placed on either side of a vacuum chamber where the unique and scarce material was collected. 

1152 Calutrons were installed at Y-12 and after a year of operation, collected 50 Kilograms of Uranium 235.  That's 110 pounds, less than a gallon, and just enough to fuel the first Atomic Bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan and enough to make only one more bomb when the war ended!

Little Boy was the code name given to the Atomic Weapon dropped on Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945. The bomb was 10 feet (3 m) in length, 28 inches (71 cm) wide and weighed 8,900 lb (4000 kg).
At the time there had never been a test explosion with this type of weapon (the test at Trinity on July 16, 1945 was a Plutonium "gadget").

This was because tests of controlled nuclear reactions with U-235 (as opposed to the uncontrolled reaction that occurs in a bomb) had already been done, and the principles involved were so simple that it was taken to be unnecessary to test the weapon in advance. The military were also anxious to drop the bomb, and testing the device would have delayed its use until more uranium was ready.

Chapel on the Hill was the first church built in Oak Ridge. It was constructed in 1943 near the main business district of the Secret City - Oak Ridge.

It was used by all faiths and scheduled heavily. It is still very much in use today as the meeting place for the United Church, a non-denominational congregation, and is still a favorite location for weddings.

The Guest House served to house the visiting dignitaries during the Manhattan Project and continued to provide exceptional accommodations through the years as the Alexander Inn. It is in a sad state of disrepair at present. Several individuals are working through the Oak Ridge Heritage and Preservation Association in an attempt to find ways to preserve this historic structure. It is a natural for a "bed and breakfast" of the grandest kind.


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