This year’s Secret City Festival hosted 13 members of the “Willow Run Rosies” from the Historic Willow Run bomber plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Wearing Rosie-The-Riveter costumes, these ladies helped re-create the spirit of the many Rosies who powered the American war effort during World War II.
The Rosies were part of a 20-person group from Michigan.
The Willow Run Rosies chatted with festival visitors in the Oak Ridge Heritage and Preservation Room on Saturday during the city’s two-day festival. Each year, the Oak Ridge Heritage and Preservation Association sponsors a heritage room during the festival, featuring exhibits on the history of the super-secret Manhattan Project and its “Secret City” of Oak Ridge.
Tens of thousands of “Rosies” came here during World War II, as part of President Roosevelt’s massive effort to build an atomic bomb in time to end the war.
The Willow Run Rosies are part of a fundraising effort to help preserve and restore a huge World War II bomber plant—an innovative plant designed to construct B-24 Liberator Bombers as quickly as possible for the war effort. (See www.savethebomberplant.org for more information.)
“The history of Oak Ridge is amazing,” said Rosie Alison Beatty. “We had to come and be a part of the Secret City Festival.”
The group coordinated its efforts through the Oak Ridge Heritage and Preservation Association and Y-12 National Security Complex. They said they especially appreciated the wonderful help and support they got from Y-12 and its historian, Ray Smith.
“We also really appreciate Lloyd and Betty Stokes, who opened our eyes to the story of Oak Ridge,” Beatty said. The Stokes have one of the largest collections of Secret City memorabilia in the community.
For more information, contact Beatty at [email protected].
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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