Oak Ridge celebrates 70th birthday on Sept. 19

Oak Ridge will celebrate its 70th birthday on Sept. 19 with historic displays and talks in Jackson Square, special games and activities, a preservation award, and a special free showing of “Fat Man and Little Boy.”

A press release said Gen. Leslie R. Groves selected the area that is now Oak Ridge—it was then 90 square miles of East Tennessee farmland—as the first site for Manhattan Project facilities on Sept. 19, 1942. The Manhattan Project was a top-secret federal program to build the world’s first atomic weapons during World War II.

The 70th birthday festivities kick off at 3 p.m. Sept. 19 in Historic Jackson Square. Community organizations such as the Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge, the American Museum of Science and Energy, and the Oak Ridge Heritage and Preservation Association will display historic photos and documents, host special games and activities, and share the history of the community and Manhattan Project facilities.

Oak Ridge historian Bill Wilcox will talk about the history of Oak Ridge at 5:30 p.m. in front of the Oak Ridge Playhouse. Then, Y-12 National Security Complex Historian Ray Smith will give a brief update on the status of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park.

Next, Mick Wiest will present the Oak Ridge Heritage and Preservation Association’s annual historic preservation award, the release said.

Oak Ridge Mayor Tom Beehan will commemorate the day by cutting an official birthday cake and reading an official proclamation designating Sept. 19, 2012, as the 70th birthday of the World War II Secret City of Oak Ridge.

Everyone is then invited to a free special viewing of the movie “Fat Man and Little Boy” inside the Oak Ridge Playhouse at 6:30 p.m., the release said.

For more information on the celebration, contact the Oak Ridge Convention and Visitors Bureau at (865) 482-7821 or visit the website at www.OakRidgeVisitor.com.

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