Here's a collection of rare historical photos from Oak Ridge, Tennessee, a town established by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1942 on an isolated farm. It was a secret location that became one of the most significant sites of the Manhattan Project.

Signs at Graphics Department, 1943-1944

Workers load uranium slugs into the X-10 Graphite Reactor's 44 by 44 feet (13.4 m) concrete face, 1943

(via Wikimedia Commons)

Barn being used for storage, 1943

"The Calutron Girls", Y-12, 1944

Billboards, 1943-1944

Post office at Christmas time, 1944

The Atom, 1945

Line for cigarettes at Williams Drug Store, Jackson Square, 1945

Entrance to K-25, an uranium enrichment facility, 1945

The Elza bridge, 1945

Welding, 1945

The Oak Ridge Swimming Pool, 1946

Oak Ridge National Laboratory, 1947

A.E.C. Girls Club, 1947

Oak Ridge Journal Staff, 1947

Santa Claus, 1947

Sports: Basketball and boxing, 1947

Aerial of Y-12, 1947

Wheat Cemetery & Church, 1948

Ogden Circle, 1948

Ed Westcott's Camera and Entry Pass, 1940s

Safety billboard, 1948

To Man and the Atom, an exhibition in 1948

Dagwood Splits The Atom, 1949

The whole book is available on Sparehed.

Willow Brooke School, 1949

Radioisotope separation and production, 1949

Mechanical hands, 1949

Oak Ridge High School, 1951

Erection of pre-fabs, 1951

Loading the Graphite Reactor at ORNL, 1952

Air View of K-25, K-31 and K-33, 1954

Woodland, 1955

Atoms for Peace Exhibit Trucks 1956

Type B home, 1957

A worker at the Graphite Reactor, 1957

Manipulators, 1958

Isotope Storage Area, 1958

Microwave Spectroscopy, 1958

Billboards, 1960

City Sign, 1960

Zonal Centrifuge Lab work, 1967

Vibration Testing, 1967

Safety, 1967

Big Mouth No. 1, 1970

Security – That's all!, 1970


The photos are from doe-oakridge, except when noted otherwise.