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Oak Ridge in Anderson County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)
 

The Birth of the City of Oak Ridge, Tennessee

Transformation of the Citizenry

 
 
The Birth of the City of Oak Ridge, Tennessee Marker image. Click for full size.
By Tom Bosse, December 30, 2017
1. The Birth of the City of Oak Ridge, Tennessee Marker
Inscription. 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 Birth of the City of Oak Ridge, Tennessee Marker image. Click for full size.
By Tom Bosse, December 30, 2017
2. The Birth of the City of Oak Ridge, Tennessee Marker
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.
 
Erected by The City of Oak Ridge and The National Park Service.
 
Location. 36° 0.742′ N, 84° 15.478′ W. Marker is in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, in Anderson County. Marker is on South Tulane Avenue, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is in front of the City of Oak Ridge Municipal Building. Marker is at or near this postal address: 200 South Tulane Avenue, Oak Ridge TN 37830, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A different marker also named The Birth of the City of Oak Ridge, Tennessee (here, next to this marker); a different marker also named The Birth of the City of Oak Ridge, Tennessee (here, next to this marker); a different marker also named The Birth of the City of Oak Ridge, Tennessee (here, next to this marker); Dedicated to the Memory of Those from Oak Ridge Who Gave Their Lives That Freedom Might Live (here, next to this marker); Violent Clashes (within shouting distance of this marker); 1944 (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); K-25 – The Gaseous Diffusion Plant (about 500 feet away); Oak Ridge Hospital (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Oak Ridge.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker.
 
Categories. Political Subdivisions
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 10, 2018. This page originally submitted on January 10, 2018, by Tom Bosse of Jefferson City, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 53 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on January 10, 2018, by Tom Bosse of Jefferson City, Tennessee. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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