Historic Markers Across Tennessee

The Birth of the City of Oak Ridge, Tennessee

Marker ID:  
Location: City of Oak Ridge Municipal Building, 200 South Tulane Avenue, Oak Ridge, TN
County: Anderson
Coordinates: N 36° 0.742    W 084° 15.478
  36.01236666    -84.25796666
Style: Mounted **
Waymark: None


The Birth of the City of Oak Ridge, Tennessee
Transformation of Education and Health

At the same time the Government was starting large construction programs in 1948 to build permanent housing, work started to replace the hurriedly built wartime schools. The first permanent school finished was Willowbrook Elementary in September 1949. Next to be finished was Woodland Elementary in the fall of 1950, but so many people moved into Woodland that an addition was required, finished in 1953. The most costly of all school additions ($2.9 million) was the new High School, located west of its original Jackson Square home to better serve the center of the future City. Jefferson Junior high moved in to the old high School above Jackson Square. Major new additions and renovations were made to Robertsville Junior High by 1954. Those four new schools represented a $6 million investment in providing for the future outstanding school system. Providing for the City’s future health care was another major concern. In April 1949, just a month after the City’s gates were opened, the government turned the management of the Hospital over to a not-for-profit Oak Ridge Hospital, Inc., and then, to help fight deficits, changed the rules to allow them to accept patients from the surrounding counties. Midway through the next decade the Hospital Board argued that the wartime, wooden, sprawling facility had to be replaced, and Congress appropriated money for a new 175-bed facility. The issue then became to whom this fine new hospital should be given: to the new City, to those who had been running it, or to a new suitor, the Methodist Church. A spirited referendum saw the vote almost evenly divided, so a second was held and the Methodist Church won. Although they took over management in March 1959, both the Hospital and the Schools reported to the Atomic Energy Commission until all property transfers to the new City were finally executed in June 1960.

This third marker was produced, in part,
with funding from the City of Oak Ridge and the Preserve American Grant Program, National Park Service.


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