Bring the family by the historic Midtown Community Center next to Kroger from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, June 2, and Saturday, June 3, during the Secret City Festival—to enjoy the fascinating story behind the creation of U.S. Department of Energy’s nuclear complex and the City of Oak Ridge. The Midtown Center is located at 102 Robertsville Road in Oak Ridge.
As a special treat, the first 100 visitors on each day will get a free Manhattan Project Secret City pocket guide from the Oak Ridge Heritage and Preservation Association.
The pocket guide, a $5 value, has 43 pages packed with “Wow-Facts” and photos on early Oak Ridge and the new Manhattan Project National Historical Park, a press release said. The guide also includes a map of historical locations in the city and a driving tour.
This year is the 75th anniversary of both the DOE nuclear complex and the “Secret City” of Oak Ridge. Both were created by the federal government in the difficult year following the Pearl Harbor attack, 1942, during the super-secret Manhattan Project. The Manhattan Project was President Roosevelt’s effort to build the very first atomic bomb and end World War II.
The Midtown’s air-conditioned exhibit hall will feature a variety of exhibits and artifacts from the early days of Oak Ridge.
Outside, there will be pizza and hot dog vendors.
The Midtown parking lot will also host a large tractor-trailer traveling historical exhibit on the heroic Tuskegee Airmen Red Tail squadron of World War II.
The Oak Ridge Heritage and Preservation Association is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving and teaching Oak Ridge history.
On June 2 and 3, the Midtown exhibits will include:
- An exhibit on the World War II B-25 bomber named “Sunday Punch” which was paid for by Oak Ridge workers during the war. One of its heroic World War II pilots, Tom Evans, will be on hand (on Saturday only).
- An exhibit honoring the service and heroism of military chaplains during World War II (by Tom Walker).
- A large collection of 1940s Oak Ridge memorabilia and artifacts (by Lloyd Stokes). There will include many one-of-a-kind items, you won’t be able to see anywhere else.
- An extensive collection (by Bobbie Martin) of early Oak Ridge photos by the famous Manhattan Project photographer Ed Westcott.
- An Oak Ridge African American Heritage exhibit, featuring the social and cultural climate of African Americans between 1948 and 1960 (by Rose Weaver).
- An overview mural of early Oak Ridge taken from a series of photographs by Ed Westcott from the Y-12 water tower during World War II.
- A display on “Lives Saved—Lives Lost” in World War II (by Mick Weist).
- An exhibit on the extensive Oak Ridge Oral History Project (by the Oak Ridge Library).
- A Bill Pollack Vintage Music Display.
- Pen and ink drawings of historic Oak Ridge scenes (by the late Fred Heddelson).
- An Oak Ridge 1940s dormitory-room-recreation. Dorms housed many of the young Americans who jammed into the Secret City during the Manhattan Project. Between 1943 and 1945, the population of Oak Ridge zoomed from zero to 75,000.
Contact the ORHPA Exhibit Manager Bobbie Martin at (865) 482-4327 for more information.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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