Oak Ridge, Tennessee

A few years ago when the Science Fiction show Eureka was introduced, I read the description: A sheriff and his daughter break down in a secret town populated by scientists. I thought, whoa! That’s my hometown.

I come from Oak Ridge Tennessee, at one time a secret city populated by scientists. It was indeed an odd and interesting place to grow up. We had secured air space, air raid sirens that went off every day at five o’clock, we were issued dog tags in the third grade, none of  us knew what our fathers did for a living, and we had the biggest and best swimming pool ever.

In 1942, the federal government was looking for a place to build a city whose purpose was to develop a way to separate uranium 235 from uranium 238, as well as the production of plutonium. The goal was to produce an atomic bomb before Germany during World War II. The scientists were successful. The site that became known as Oak Ridge was chosen because it was accessible, but the access could be controlled. The Norris Dam had just been built, so there was access to electricity. Geologically the area was made up of ridges and valleys -- natural barriers in case of disaster at one of the atomic plants -- we had several.

Nowdays much of the secrecy is is gone, and the industry is focused on peacetime science. The air raid sirens are now for tornado warnings. We still have a great swimming pool and the worlds fastest (and at times second fastest) super computer -- the Titan.

Beverly Connor

The Poplar Creek Murders


Friendship Bell