Inside the Secret Cities That Created the Atomic Bomb

By Amanda Kolson Hurley | May 10, 2018

Billboard in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, c. 1943. Billboards like this one posted around the three secret cities reminded residents to keep their work strictly confidential. Courtesy of the U.S. Department of Energy and the Oak Ridge Public Library

The state of Tennessee doesn't raucously intrude itself onto world affairs but massive things have happened here.This intriguing article shows both the practical tangible affects of Science on people's lives and the perspective real history can give. We now know there was no danger from German bombers reaching America in 1942 the time...nice Memorial Day salute to ordinary people serving an enormous high-stakes cause. – Ed.

The Manhattan Project, the program that developed the first nuclear weapons during World War II, worked out of three purpose-built cities in Tennessee, New Mexico, and Washington state. A new exhibition considers their design and legacy.

Built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at rapid speed beginning in 1942, the instant wartime cities of Oak Ridge, Tennessee; Hanford/Richland, Washington; and Los Alamos, New Mexico, revolved around military research. They held laboratories and sprawling industrial plants, but also residential neighborhoods, schools, churches, and storesówar workers had personal lives and families, after all. At their peak in 1945, the three cities had a combined population of more than 125,000.