The Birth of the City of Oak Ridge, Tennessee

The Birth of the City of Oak Ridge, Tennessee (HM24HQ)

Location: Oak Ridge, TN 37830 Anderson County
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Country: United States of America
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N 36° 0.742', W 84° 15.478'

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Transformation of the Citizenry

In wartime 1943, realizing that unhappiness with living conditions would imperil the already fragile prognosis for producing uranium-235, the Army overseers of Oak Ridge strove to make life as pleasant as possible for the uprooted professionals sent here to work. They created a town where housing, though temporary, was decent and less costly than back home; schools and medical services were as good; and the "Secret City" culture was attractive. After the war, the new civilian government owner, the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), was faced with reducing the cost of all services, then far higher than in other cities this size. In 1948, the AEC embarked on an ambitious program to make a "normal", permanent city out of the 5-year-old temporary one that had always been anything but normal. The job entailed not only spending millions of dollars to replace temporary housing, schools, hospital, and municipal services with permanent facilities, but also turning around the attitudes of the citizenry who loved the way the city had been with all its many excellent, well-subsidized services. During the next four years, millions of dollars were invested into building impressive new housing and permanent schools. Despite that, a referendum on incorporation in 1953 was heavily defeated. Then in 1955, Congress passed a law enabling



the sale of all the houses. As house sales turned renters into homeowners now interested in landscaping, streetlights, and sewer systems, attitudes began to change. By the end of the decade, home sales were complete, and Oak Ridgers' love affair with their government-run city was over. In a referendum held May 5, 1959, citizens voted 14 to 1 in favor of taking over, operating, and paying for their own City. The official transfers and "Independence Day" took place on June 1, 1960. The transformation had taken 13 years.

This first marker was produced, in part, with funding from the City of Oak Ridge and the Preserve American Grant Program, National Park Service.
Details
HM NumberHM24HQ
Tags
Placed ByThe City of Oak Ridge and The National Park Service
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Wednesday, January 10th, 2018 at 7:02am PST -08:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16S E 747123 N 3988798
Decimal Degrees36.01236667, -84.25796667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 36° 0.742', W 84° 15.478'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds36° 0' 44.52" N, 84° 15' 28.68" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)615, 865
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling South
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 200 S Tulane Ave, Oak Ridge TN 37830, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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