Atomic Awesome

America’s Secret Government Town

In east Tennessee is the idyllic town you see above. It looks like any other small town in America. In 1945 it had a population of 75,000. Ten schools fed children’s brains. Seventeen restaurants and thirteen supermarkets fed their bellies. A library, churches, parks, sporting facilities adn even a symphony orchestra make it hard to distinguish from any other small town. Except for one big thing.

That big building is the K-25 Plant. Construction of the K-25 uranium enrichment facility started in 1942. As part of the Manhattan Project, the US government bought 70,000 acres of land in east Tennessee to build a town that would be centered around the production of nuclear materials for America’s atomic weapons and energy research programs. Nestled in a long valley, the town was kept a relative secret until 1959.

[Image Credits: US Department of Energy]

  • tonyola

    I had to look at the tags to get the name of the town? Sloppy! (This is for the "1908" tweaking you gave me earlier).

    • Deartháir

      I'll have him soundly beaten.

    • OA5599

      It is a secret town, you know.

    • Crap editing FTW!

  • fodder650

    If I remember right there were four of five of these towns built to enrich uranium. That the production level was low enough they went the full bulk route.

  • aastrovan

    If you make a post,include details.
    Maybe a point?What is the status of this property today?
    The "5 W's" of journalism are; Who- What- When- Where and Why.

    • B72

      That's what bugs me about TTAC. Many of the comments are attacks on the posts.

      I think there should be a rule around here. "no criticizing the post until you have written one yourself".

    • I'm guessing this comment was rushed and you didn't intend to be crass.

      Constructive criticism is welcome but let's keep it constructive.

      I too was hoping to find out more information on this little town. Maybe engineerd will do a follow up if we ask nicely.

      • aastrovan

        Looking back it does seem a bit crass.I kind of see it as constructive,certainly not an "attack".

  • OA5599

    I always learned it as the five W's and an H.

    Who?
    What?
    When?
    Where?
    Why?
    How come there are no pictures of Finland parking garages?

    • Deartháir

      That last question is the reason Hooniverse has Antti.

  • craigsu

    I have cousins in Oak Ridge. Not much of a secret, though. You either work for the government or you raise horses there.

  • If I may offer an aside…

    "The core group that would eventually lead to the Oak Ridge Boys was a country group called Wally Fowler and the Georgia Clodhoppers, formed in 1943 in Knoxville, Tennessee. They were requested to perform to staff members and their families restricted during World War II at the nuclear research plant at nearby Oak Ridge (the birthplace of the atom bomb). They were asked to sing there so often that eventually they changed their name to the Oak Ridge Quartet." (The 'secret town' is Oak Ridge, TN.) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Oak_Ridge_Boys

    Maybe Atomic Toasters is an unlikely place to find country music fans, but I thought I'd put that out there. There's also a 'George Jones Memorial Baptist Church' in the town, but it's not THAT George Jones, he's still alive.

    • Awesome! I accidentally clicked the down thumb when I meant to click the up thumb. Hopefully this injustice is corrected soon.

  • mr. mzs zsm msz esq

    <img src="http://history.fnal.gov/weston/weston68_b.jpg&quot; width="600"> Here's another example, though never secret, it's a link if you want to read more. The village is still there and all the buildings are in use by the lab in some way or the other. There is even a day care.

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