History in Photos: Clinton Engineer Works

By Tyler Jacques

This years Community Read selection is big on history. While Denise Kiernan’s “Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II” does a wonderful job at telling the stories of those involved with the Oakridge Plant in Tennessee, we realize that some learn visually. Today we’ve compiled a set of images from the time period to accompany the book.

An aerial view of the K-25 plant in Oak Ridge, where the Uranium for “Little Boy” was manufactured. (1945)

Elza Gate entrance to the town of Oak Ridge. (1945)

Inside the Y-12 Plant calutron operators work to refine the Uranium ore unbenounced to them. The women closest didn’t find out the reasoning behind her position at Oak Ridge until viewing a tour of the facility after the war. Her name is Gladys Owens.

A picture of war propaganda being painted to emphasize the contribution of the home war effort. It was seen as a privilege to work at Oak Ridge and serve your country. (1944)

Welding on the production line in the K-25 plant. During the height of production nearly 100 thousand workers were employed in Oak Ridge. (1945)

Even after the war the story of Oak Ridge was being spread. Here is a picture of the Grove theater in Oak Ridge featuring “The Beginning or The End” (1947)

More war propaganda seen in Oak Ridge. This particular example references the phrase “Monkey see, monkey do” to let residents know they must not share secrets about the project.

Periodic health checks were done for workers who were regularly exposed to radiation from the materials in the plants. Scientists also conducted tests on patients to truly understand the effects of radioactive materials had on humans. The most notable of these cases is that of Ebb Cade, an African American resident of Oak Ridge who was injected with Plutonium after being hospitalized following a car accident.

Security was tight in Oak Ridge because of fears that information about the project would get out. Security checkpoints surrounded the city. Here are some of the rules all citizens of Oak Ridge had to abide to.

We hope that you have learned something new about life at Oak Ridge! Leave a comment down below about which picture surprised you the most!








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