Happy 71st birthday, Oak Ridge!

Oak Ridge Birthday Sign

A sign at the Midtown Community Center on Robertsville Road celebrates the 71st birthday of Oak Ridge on Thursday (Submitted photo)

By Martin and Anne McBride

On Sept. 19, 1942, only two days after being appointed the head of the Manhattan Project in September 1942, Gen. Leslie R. Groves selected Oak Ridge as the first major site of the Manhattan Project, a top-secret federal program to build the world’s first atomic bombs during World War II.

Ultimately, $1.1 billion was spent on the huge, first-of-a-kind Oak Ridge nuclear plants and the fledgling “Secret City” of Oak Ridge. This expenditure represented 72 percent of the money spent on the three principal Manhattan Project sites: Oak Ridge; Hanford, Wash.; and Los Alamos, N.M.

The Oak Ridge tract was approximately 17 miles long by an average of seven miles wide. The Corps of Engineers paid $2.6 million dollars for the land and initially named the site the “Kingston Demolition Range.” Local opposition to having a demolition range in the area caused the name to be changed to “Clinton Engineer Works.” [Read more…]

Historic preservation awards to be presented to bank, school Thursday

CapitalMark Bank and Trust

CapitalMark Bank and Trust Oak Ridge President David Bradshaw is pictured at the original Hamilton National Bank vault. (Submitted photo)

A nonprofit organization will present this year’s historic preservation awards on Thursday, Oak Ridge’s birthday.

Two awards will be presented this year, one to CapitalMark Bank and Trust in Jackson Square and the other to the Oak Ridge School Administration Building, formerly the Pine Valley School.

The awards will be presented by the Oak Ridge Heritage and Preservation Association in back-to-back ceremonies Thursday afternoon. The first ceremony at Pine Valley School starts at 3 p.m., and the second at CapitalMark Bank and Trust at 3:45 p.m. [Read more…]