Vanishing History


A while back we had a couple posts about Oak Ridge, TN (here and here) and its role in the development of nuclear weapons in the US. The K-25 plant, the largest building by volume in the world at the time of it’s completion, was sort of the centerpiece of the Uranium enrichment activities at Oak Ridge. By 1964, however, the gaseous diffusion processes used in K-25 were no longer needed and the building was shut down.

The building sat unused for decades. Finally, in 2008 demolition began on the behemoth. Demolition of the building finally wrapped up in December with final clearing of the site expected some time this year.

This is an interesting case. The building, an unused relic of the Manhattan Project, had become something of a landmark. It’s size and unique shape made it easily recognizable from the air. It’s role in our nation’s history made it significant, but other than historical significance it was just a hulking waste of space. That makes this somewhat a demolition of mixed feelings. What say you, dear readers? Was it time for it to go, or should it have been kept for posterity?

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Ed. Hat tip to reader B72 for a link to The Atlantic’s article which included the above video.

[Photo Credit: US Department of Energy]

  • They should have converted it into a museum of extremely long pieces of rope.

  • CopterBob

    Indoor tank range?

  • Oak Ridge, TN is also home to one of the very few 1,000 yd. rifle ranges in the Eastern US. No, it wasn't an indoor range.

  • B72

    I wonder if it was at all hot (in the radioactive sense). If not, you'd think they would turn it into a mall or industrial condos or something.

    • SSurfer321

      I can only assume it was full of asbestos in the floor tile, pipe insulation, window caulk and other places.
      Which all needed to be abated prior to its demolition.

  • SSurfer321

    They should have made it a prison.

  • I'm picturing an awesome indoor kart track.

  • nanoop

    Why not keep it in state service and use it as a server "room", to archive the backups of the text messages I sent to Mrs. nanoop five years ago.

  • It's funny, but I worked for the DOE in environmental restoration for a number of years, both of my brother-in-laws worked in DOE ER, and my wife has worked for a DOE contractor for 28 years. Oak Ridge, Hanford, Weldon Spring, Rocky Flats, Pantex, Savannah River are like family farmsteads…