Historic Markers Across Tennessee

Oak Ridge Hospital

Marker ID:  
Location: Alvin K. Bissell Park, at the intersection of Oak Ridge Turnpike (Tennessee Route 95) and South Tulane Ave, Oak Ridge, TN
County: Anderson
Coordinates: N 36° 0.819    W 084° 15.474
  36.01365    -84.2579
Style: Mounted **
Waymark: None


Oak Ridge Hospital

The medical director responsible for the nationwide Manhattan Project, Colonel Stafford L. Warren, M.D., had his headquarters in Oak ridge. A professor of radiology at the University of Rochester School of Medicine, Warren was recruited specifically for his expertise in this new field. Major Charles E. Rea, M.D., a surgeon from Minnesota, organized and became the first director of the Army Hospital, which formally opened on November 17, 1943. Some things can’t wait – the first baby was born there November 11. The hospital started out with 50 beds, but by the summer of 1945 it had grown to 337 beds. For security reasons, only doctors who were assigned fulltime to the hospital were permitted to practice in Oak Ridge. In November 1943, the entire medical staff was inducted into the Army and commissioned as officers in the Army Medical Corps because they might need access to restricted information about the secret materials and operations their patients might be exposed to. In July 1946, the number of physicians peaked at 52, and the number of nurses – all civilian employees – reached a high of nearly 150. At first, patients received all medical treatment free of charge, but because the city’s population rose so quickly and demand for medical services grew, a policy of prepayment or insurance for medical care was instituted, with a family membership costing $5 a month ($2.50 for singles) covering all medical tests, hospital, and physician services. Through the years the hospital has evolved into an up-to-date medical center now serving a five-county region, honored by the State of Tennessee for the high quality of its facilities, staff, and service.

Erected in Honor of All the Physicians, Nurses, and Assisting Staff Who Maintained the Health of the Secret City
By the Methodist Medical Center of Oak Ridge, June 2005.


More information:
Wikipedia - Oak Ridge, Tennessee
Wikipedia - Manhattan Project
Wikipedia - Manhattan Project National Historical Park
US History for Kids - Manhattan Project Timeline
Secret City Commemorative Walk