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The Secret City Commemorative Walk (SCCW) was dedicated 11:00 a.m. Friday, June 17, 2005, a gift of the Rotary Club of Oak Ridge to the City of Oak Ridge on the 62nd anniversary of its founding (1943). Additionally, this Walk was the project selected by the Rotary Club to celebrate Rotary International's 100th anniversary of its founding (1905).

Construction of this beautiful history walk for the City's central downtown Bissell Park was completed in May 2005 and 776 cast bronze memorial plaques were installed on the four Founders' Walls in June. At the close of the year Rotary stopped accepting orders because the over 700 plaques then on order would fill up the walls. To see this listing of 1,488 plaques on the four walls, please follow this link to "The Founders Walls of the SCCW".

Some people did not learn about the Walls during 2005, but may wish to have their Founders remembered. Rotary will endeavor to maintain a record of their names on a separate listing that will be published on this Web Page and be posted near the entrance to the SCCW in the Park. This list will be called the "Honor Roll of Additional Founders." To have a name added to this list, please write Rotary SCCW, P.O. Box 4183, Oak Ridge, TN 37830 and give us the person's name. nickname if desired, the year they came to work (only '42 to '49 ), and the first plant worked at, or homemaker. (No children).

The $350,000 history walk is a permanent, outdoor, walk-around-loop located in the east end of Alvin K. Bissell Park, the central-city park of Oak Ridge. The walk is located at the corner of South Tulane Avenue and Oak Ridge Turnpike, next to the parking lot of the Public Library in the Civic Center.

The Secret City Commemorative Walk tells future citizens and visitors the story of more than 100,000 people who came here at the call of their nation--for what Rotarians call "service above self"--to take part in a highly secret work project during World War II. In just three years these patriots turned sparsely settled farmland into the 5th largest city in the state of Tennessee. And they accomplished challenging science and engineering feats never before done anywhere in the world. One writer in 1945 described the magnitude of the over $1-billion Clinton Engineer Works (Oak Ridge) effort as the equivalent of building a Panama Canal each year. The Manhattan Project had a top national wartime priority with no ceiling on expenditures, but was a huge undertaking.

The SCCW tells the story of Oak Ridge's founding and early years with series of ten bronze plaques atop concrete monuments. These plaques present the early history of the top-secret government plants and primary institutions in the cityósuch as the hospital, school system, and construction workers--that existed only to support them. Eight large cast bronze historical markers describe life here between 1942 and 1949. In addition, bronze plaques are being mounted on four Founder Walls to honor and remember individuals who came here to work during the Secret City years of 1942 through 1949, and to commemorate the founding in those years of more than 50 organizations--civic clubs, societies, churches, and other groups still here today.

The Secret City Commemorative Walk gives present and future generations of citizens, visitors, and tourists a review of or introduction to our city's unique history, while honoring those thousands of patriots. These Oak Ridgers' great service to our country and monumental achievements have long deserved to be publicly commemorated by those who enjoy the manifold fruits of the founders' pioneering work in nuclear science and technology.

Policy on Additional Walls and Additional Plaques.

Rotary stopped taking orders for Founders Plaques at the end of the Rotary Centennial Year of 2005 at which time, as announced, the four Walls were full of the designed number of plaques. We have no plans to add any more walls or plaques, but we welcome names of any "Founders" who came 1942-1949, and will be pleased to add them to a "virtual" wall called the "Honor Roll of Additional Founders." That list will be posted both on our Web Page and added to the Index at the entrance to the SCCW.

If you want to have names of a Founder added to this list, please give us the Founder's name, nick name or married name, the year he/she came to Oak Ridge, the first plant worked at or place in town(homemaker). We will also list, if desired, the name of the person submitting the name. There is no charge for this service. Send this information to Rotary Club of Oak Ridge, P.O.Box 4183, Oak Ridge, TN 37830. Please mark envelope - Attn. SCCW.

Qualifications for "Honor Roll of Additional Founders."

  1. Adults who came to work here at plants, lab, or city during 1942-1949.
  2. Spouses qualify as Founders, homemaker for instance, but not school children.
  3. We can list nicknames and the married name of women who came to work here as singles and then later married. Their married name will be in parentheses.
  4. The place they first worked will be listed, even though they may have transferred later to another plant.
  5. No job titles will be listed, viz. Electrical Division Head or Kindergarten Teacher.
  6. Ok to say Dr. Russ Smith or Russ Smith, M. D.