Page 432

Chapter 21: The Atomic Communities in Tennessee

Those mid-twentieth century Americans who came by the thousands to live in the burgeoning atomic communities of the Clinton Engineer Works (CEW) in east Tennessee moved into a region with deep roots in the nation’s history. European settlers had been coming from the eastern seaboard colonies for two hundred years, many by way of the much-traveled trail through the Cumberland Gap, to live in the valleys beneath the heavily wooded ridges forming the foothills of the Cumberland Mountains. But their numbers had remained small, limited to the few farm families that the relatively poor soil would support. Then in the 1930s, the arrival of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) presaged the establishment of the “Government village” that in the next decade would tremendously alter the quiet rural countryside.1 Indeed, as the Manhattan Project got under way in early 1943, the sudden influx of the atomic workers soon created a unique industrial community along the south slopes of that prominent terrain feature known for many years as Black Oak Ridge.2

Oak Ridge: The Operating Community

Of necessity, planning for community facilities related directly to the construction and operation of the production plants and hence was subject to frequent revision, usually toward expansion. Rather than adhering to long-range blueprints, Manhattan was compelled to adopt a policy of expediency, responding as promptly as possible to each new major change in industrial development, with the hope that it could provide at all times for at least a minimum of community requirements. Achievement of even this minimum goal often was difficult, because the Army’s general policy gave first priority to materials, equipment, and

Page 433

manpower for plant construction and operation.3

First Phase, 1942–1943

Organization and planning for Oak Ridge began in late June 1942, after Stone and Webster had agreed to include site development and housing construction in its responsibilities as architect-engineer-manager of the atomic project. Meeting with Manhattan leaders on the twenty-ninth, company officials indicated a special engineering group at their Boston office would begin design work for the permanent operating community immediately. During the weeks that followed, Stone and Webster and Army engineers collaborated closely on preliminary plans for the community. Using such previously built government villages as Ocala, Florida (for the Florida ship canal project), and Eastport, Maine (for the Passamaquoddy project), as a basis, they envisioned an operating village of some five thousand inhabitants.

Following a visit to the Tennessee site, the engineers tentatively decided that the best location for the village would be in the northeastern corner because Tennessee 61, the best highway traversing the site, ran northeastward to Clinton and then connected with good roads to Knoxville, and also because main lines of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad and the Southern Railway were nearby. (See Map 3.) The topography, too, met their requirements. The stream valley formed by the East Fork of Poplar Creek, a tributary of the Clinch River, was relatively flat – if somewhat narrow – and extended about 7 miles southwestward from the northeast boundary of the reservation. And paralleling the valley on the north and south were Black Oak Ridge and Pine Ridge, foothills that would provide the necessary protection for the future community from possible disastrous explosions at the nearby production plants and from unauthorized observation from outside the reservation. The gentle slope of Black Oak Ridge also promised to be suitable for residential construction.4

Because the site under construction was remote and all personnel, for safety and security, would have to live in one place, the village would need numerous housing units and facilities to provide atomic workers with minimum standards of comfort and service. But wartime restrictions on the amount and cost of any kind of community construction and the difficulty in procuring building materials made it seem unlikely that adequate facilities could be provided. Thus, both Brig. Gen. Lucius D. Clay, in his capacity as the Services of Supply’s deputy chief of staff for requirements and resources, and Colonel Groves, who was still serving as the Corps of Engineers’ deputy chief for Army construction, took occasion to remind District officials of these restrictions

Page 434

and to caution them against overly elaborate plans for village construction. Clay told Colonels Marshall and Nichols that he saw little hope that there would be any relaxation in these restrictions for the atomic project. Groves reaffirmed this view and made a point of reminding Marshall of the $7,500-dollar cost limitation on individual quarters; he also told Captain Johnson, the District liaison officer in Washington, D.C., that he thought patterning the atomic community after Ocala or Eastport would be a mistake, for these two towns were built under peacetime conditions. Nevertheless, when Groves – as the new officer in charge of the project – personally inspected the East Fork Valley section of the Tennessee site in late September, he shifted his position to concur with Marshall’s view “that primitive housing could not be expected to meet family requirements of the class of personnel to be employed on this particular project.”5

General Groves’ approval of East Fork Valley cleared the way for development of the atomic community. In early October, Stone and Webster construction crews started work on the first phase. Bulldozers and graders cleared away existing structures, grubbed out trees and shrubs from the slopes of Black Oak Ridge, laid out rights of way for roads, and provided for a drainage system. At the same time, Captain Johnson conferred with the Corps’ Construction Division housing specialists, seeking data on designs appropriate for the Tennessee site; Colonel Marshall visited the Ocala village, coming away convinced that its buildings, “with slight modification, would be ideal types for our village at Clinton-; and Stone and Webster worked closely with the Boston Area Engineers Office to complete the general layout plans for the village.6

Stone and Webster submitted its general plan for the atomic community to the Manhattan area office on 26 October. What had begun as a projected village of five thousand people emerged as the blueprint for a town of some thirteen thousand. Consistent with the Manhattan objective that townsite construction remain secondary to plant construction, general design specifications were based on utility, on minimizing costs, and on maximizing use of noncritical materials. Housing and other community facilities had only to furnish sufficient accommodations and services so that the majority of project workers would live on the reservation. Employees who did not have to commute daily to off-site communities would perform more efficiently in plant construction and operations and would be much less of a risk to the security of the project.7

Under terms of the Army’s original contract, Stone and Webster was responsible for preparing detailed blueprints of not only the atomic community but also the large-scale electromagnetic plant. By November, however,

Page 435

as the vast scope of plant design became apparent, Manhattan realized that Stone and Webster simply did not have enough design personnel to execute both facets and meet the project’s stringent time limits as well. So on the twenty-first it relieved Stone and Webster of town design functions, leaving the firm with responsibility for overseeing construction, operating utilities, and maintaining the roads of the town. To replace Stone and Webster in town design, Manhattan in early 1943 negotiated contracts with the John B. Pierce Foundation of New York, nationally known for its work on low-cost housing projects, and with Skidmore, Owings and Merrill of Chicago, a leading architectural firm. The two organizations were to function as a team, with the Pierce Foundation, which was primarily a research group, providing advice and plans on village housing and with Skidmore, Owings and Merrill furnishing architect-engineer services.8

Following the engagement of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill and the Pierce Foundation, Colonel Marshall established a new administrative unit – the Town Management Division – to monitor the work of these two contractors. This division, however, was abolished in a major reorganization of the District in April, at which time the district engineer decided to separate the division’s town planning and management functions. Two elements replaced the division, a Central Facilities Planning Unit and a Central Facilities Operating Division. The function of the Planning Unit was to coordinate the design work of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill with Stone and Webster construction activities at the townsite, whereas the function of the Operating Division was to provide management continuity to a developing community. Marshall also assigned two officers on his staff special responsibilities for community matters – Capt. Samuel S. Baxter for town planning and 1st Lt. Paul E. O’Meara for town management.9

Initial townsite construction was in the section of Oak Ridge eventually known as East Town, completed in early 1944. Centered on an administration building, located just south of Tennessee 61 and about 3 miles southwest of the Elza entrance to the Tennessee site, the East Town community comprised more than three thousand family-type housing units. Adjacent to the administration building was a town center of stores, service and recreation buildings, a guesthouse, several men’s and women’s dormitories, cafeterias, and a hospital. Overhead electrical and telephone lines and a sewer and water system built along main street, paralleling

Page 436

Tennessee 61 and the house-lined residential streets, provided East Towners with complete public utility services.10

Construction of the East Town section of Oak Ridge established the pattern for subsequent expansions in the atomic community at the Tennessee site. As in virtually every other aspect of project construction, the primary emphasis was on speed. This was particularly true with housing, because throughout the wartime period there was never enough of it. The two most important obstacles to speedy construction were shortages of building materials and construction workers, and District. and contractor officials devoted much effort to trying to overcome these problems. Building plans, wherever feasible, specified employment of available substitute materials, such as the use of fiber or gypsum board instead of wood for walls and cement blocks instead of poured concrete for foundations. Building designs emphasized standardization and simplicity of construction. When experience demonstrated that trailers and prefabricated hutments, both in reasonably good supply, would suffice as homes for most plant workers, town designers substituted them in later expansions. With District approval, Stone and Webster let out many lump-sum subcontracts for much of the town construction. Not only did these subcontractors speed up construction, they also furnished many additional employees who otherwise would not have been available for the project.11

Concurrently with construction of East Town, Stone and Webster built a separate self-contained community designated East Village, adjacent to Tennessee 61 cast of the center of Oak Ridge near the Elza gate. Completed in late 1943 to house black workers, this community comprised fifty permanent family dwellings, four dormitories, a cafeteria, and a church. Black workers and their families never took up residence in East Village because of a pressing need of more housing for white employees. Black families were housed elsewhere in segregated hutment areas in Oak Ridge and in the vicinity of the gaseous diffusion plant.12

Second Phase, 1943–1945

The second phase of the Oak Ridge community development program, which began in the fall of 1943 and continued until late summer of 1944, grew out of Manhattan’s need to provide additional housing and support services for a much larger population; the original estimate of thirteen thousand had more than tripled to a new high of forty-two thousand. Skidmore, Owings and Merrill again provided the principal architect-engineer services, establishing a field office where personnel worked with Captain

Page 437

Oak Ridge shopping mall 
(foreground) and district headquarters (background)

Oak Ridge shopping mall (foreground) and district headquarters (background)

Baxter. Stone and Webster oversaw the construction, most of it contracted out to other building firms, notably John A. Johnson, Foster and Creighton, A. Farnell Blair, O’Driscoll and Grove, and Clinton Home Building, and to manufacturers of trailers and prefabricated houses, including Schult Trailers, Alma Trailers, National Homes, Gunnison Housing, and E. L. Bruce.13

To keep pace with the increasing requirements of the growing community of Oak Ridge, the District reorganized and greatly expanded its central facilities administration. Effective 1 November, Colonel Nichols established the CEW Central Facilities Division under the direction of Lt. Col. Thomas T. Crenshaw. To facilitate the construction and operation of the new community, Crenshaw set up within the division six specialized branches: town planning, town management, recreation and welfare, utility maintenance, engineering, and central facilities construction. The Town Planning Branch, directed by Captain Baxter, coordinated the work of the architect-engineer and construction contractors and assisted in formulating plans for new additions to the community. The Town Management Branch, headed by Captain O’Meara, had responsibility for forming an organization to manage the community; its five sections dealt with such matters as liaison with federal agencies, commercial concessions, public

Page 438

Black workers at CEW

Black workers at CEW

health, and operation of dormitories and a guesthouse. The Recreation and Welfare Branch, under Capt. Thomas W. Taylor, oversaw the construction and operation of theaters, playing fields, and other recreational facilities in Oak Ridge. The Utility Maintenance Branch, headed by Maj. Melvin 0. Swanson, oversaw the broader aspects of ensuring the efficient operation of the town’s electrical and communications facilities. The Engineering Branch, directed by Maj. Paul F. Rossell, monitored the public services required by the community on a continuing basis; its eight sections handled transportation, mechanical repairs, water and sewerage, electrical and telephone service, and related activities. Finally, the Central Facilities Construction Branch, under Capt. Edward J. Bloch, monitored community development through seven sections; five oversaw the construction of dwellings and other structures (stores, schools, and churches), while two supervised the installation of utilities and the building of roads.14

For the second phase of community development, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill’s original plans called for 9,250 more family units and enough additional dormitories to house seventy-six hundred persons. Reviewing this proposal in November, Manhattan

Page 439

accepted the figures for dormitory space but decided 6,000 family units would suffice for construction on available sites in East Town and East Village and in an undeveloped area along Tennessee 61, about 2 miles west of East Town. Only some 4,800 of the planned 6,000 family units were built before completion of second-phase construction. The new housing included many prefabricated units, based upon a design used successfully by the TVA, and some demountable types procured from other government projects in Indiana and West Virginia. Both met project requirements and were easily removable. The second-phase program also produced more than 50 new dormitories, with a total capacity of seventy-five hundred, and a number of prefabricated barracks to house the rapidly increasing military population. Stone and Webster also supervised construction of the additional cafeterias, shopping centers, schools, laundries, utilities, and other facilities required for the expanding population of Oak Ridge.15

Third Phase, 1945

By late 1944, employment figures were again outstripping all earlier estimates. On the basis that at least a part of the increase was temporary and would decline as production plants were built, District and contractor officials at first agreed to try to cope with the new demand by maximum utilization of available housing. But further expansion of both the electromagnetic and diffusion plants rendered this expedient infeasible. By early 1945, with new estimates projecting the ultimate resident population of Oak Ridge at sixty-six thousand, Manhattan had no alternative but to undertake a third phase of community development.16

This new phase of community expansion added some 1,300 family units, 20 dormitories, about 750 trailers, as well as the necessary commercial and service facilities. Again emphasis was on demountable housing. Skidmore, Owings and Merrill served not only as architect-engineer but also as inspector of completed construction for the government, replacing Stone and Webster in this function, and the CEW Central Facilities Division directly oversaw third-phase construction carried out by various subcontractors.17

With completion of the third phase in the summer of 1945, the Clinton site had community facilities that more than adequately met the needs of the resident population in the town of Oak Ridge (sixty-one thousand) and in the nearby temporary construction camps (fourteen thousand). These facilities included 10,000 family units, 4,000 trailers, 3,000 hutments, 89 dormitories, and a variety of other types of units in lesser quantities.

Page 440

Prefabricated houses 
(foreground) and apartment dwellings (center) at CEW

Prefabricated houses (foreground) and apartment dwellings (center) at CEW

Total cost of the three-phase community development program was more than $100 million, over half for housing and the rest for support facilities.18

The Construction Camps

Manhattan made other provisions to accommodate its plant construction workers, because the major portion of the permanent housing facilities being built was intended for plant-operating personnel. As the construction workers would have only a temporary connection with the project, the Army initially planned for them to live off the atomic reservation and to commute to their jobs. But both District officials and construction contractors recognized early that the local economy, already strained with an influx of workers for other nearby war plants, would not be able to absorb the new wave of Manhattan workers. Furthermore, the deplorable condition of many local roads, the distance from the site of towns where housing was available, and the shortage of adequate transportation made commuting time-consuming and difficult. Accordingly, most Manhattan contracts

Page 441

Enlisted men’s 
barracks at CEW

Enlisted men’s barracks at CEW

provided that, where necessary, the major construction contractors would furnish temporary housing for their employees in on-site construction camps.19

Housing in the construction camps usually consisted of five-man prefabricated hutments (a type used with great success on other wartime construction projects), house trailers, and, in a few instances, dormitory-type structures. Surplus hutments and trailers were available at locations near the Tennessee site. Contractors had only to arrange for transportation to the site, where, with the addition of a few hastily erected buildings to house essential community services, they sufficed to meet the minimum needs of construction workers.

During late 1943 and early 1944, Stone and Webster and its subcontractors established a number of hutment camps and seven trailer camps in the vicinity of’ the Oak Ridge town-site. Skidmore, Owings and Merrill helped design the largest of Stone and Webster’s trailer camps in Gamble Valley, south and west of Oak Ridge, which had more than four thousand spaces, with sections for both white and black workers. Du Pont housed some of its construction employees working on the plutonium

Page 442

Gamble valley trailer camp 
at CEW

Gamble valley trailer camp at CEW

semiworks in Stone and Webster hut-merits and others in an existing school building, remodeled to serve as a dormitory.

Contractors established four more camps for thousands of diffusion workers at the confluence of Poplar Creek and the Clinch River, about 15 miles southwest of Oak Ridge. In June 1943, the J. A. Jones Construction Company began building hutments in the Happy Valley area, directly southeast of the gaseous diffusion plant, to house the first of some fifteen thousand workers. Later trailers, dormitories, and so-called Victory Houses supplemented the hutments and cafeterias; a shopping center and a school supplied essential community services. An overflow of diffusion workers occupied two smaller camps directly west of Happy Valley. And when Ford, Bacon, and Davis began construction on the plant-conditioning area in 1944, the contractor built a separate camp for its workers a short distance east of the plant site. After the peak of construction had passed, population of the camps declined, but they continued to be partially occupied for many months after the war was over.20

Page 443

Community Management

Manhattan’s community management program aimed to maintain adequate community facilities but with a maximum economy of manpower and materials and minimum risk to project security. To attain these objectives, the District’s town management staff instituted and experimented with a variety of specific measures. For example, it turned over to the professional employees of civilian contractors the detailed administration of community operations; it subsidized dormitory rents and bus fares; and it secured assistance from existing outside civilian organizations, such as the American Red Cross, the TVA, and certain governmental agencies of the state of Tennessee. The test for all such measures was the extent to which they contributed to the principal objective of the Tennessee site: production of sufficient fissionable materials in time to fulfill the demands of the bomb development program at Los Alamos.21

To the casual visitor driving down Tennessee 61 from the Elza gate in the spring of 1943, the rapidly growing clusters of buildings on the slopes of Black Oak Ridge gave every appearance of being an already thriving village of some size. On closer examination, however, the visitor would have found that most of the houses were unfinished, the shopping centers still under construction, and utilities not yet operating. For Oak Ridge did not begin to function as an organized community until the summer of 1943, when the first families began to move in and some of the commercial and service facilities opened their doors for business. In fact, the town had no name until Marshall’s executive officer, Lt. Col. Robert C. Blair, requested employee suggestions. District officials finally chose “Oak Ridge,” appropriate because of the location and because “its rural connotation held outside curiosity to a minimum.”22

With the opening of the first cafeteria and dormitories in East Town in mid-June, the Central Facilities Operating Division – with Captain Baxter serving for a time as town manager – began active management of the community. But direct administration of the community by the Army lasted only a few months. The Army had never been enthusiastic about having District military personnel directly involved in the time-consuming day-to-day administration of Oak Ridge. Groves and Nichols concluded that direct military operation of the town would require not only a large military staff but also much of the time and energy of the district engineer himself.23

The September 1943 decision to further enlarge the town of Oak Ridge precipitated a search for a civilian organization to manage it. Stone and Webster and J. A. Jones were likely candidates, but a study showed that those firms had fully committed most of their available supervisory personnel to overseeing construction

Page 444

Oak Ridge Elementary 

Oak Ridge Elementary School

of the electromagnetic and diffusion plants, So Manhattan decided to approach the Turner Construction Company of New York. Groves knew that the company had established a fine record on other important war projects, and Nichols recently had worked closely with Turner officials in his capacity as area engineer in charge of construction of the Rome (New York) Air Depot.24

By mid-month, Manhattan and Turner representatives reached an agreement that the company would establish a wholly owned but completely separate organization – designated the Roane-Anderson Company, after the two Tennessee counties in which the atomic site was located – to administer the town under a cost-plus-fixed-fee contract. According to its provisions, Roane-Anderson would manage, operate, and maintain the government-owned facilities and services at the Clinton reservation, exclusive of restricted plant areas. For this service the company was to receive a fee of $25,000 a month, or slightly less than 1 percent of $2.8 million – the estimated total monthly cost of operating the facilities. The terms of the final contract were sufficiently flexible to permit Manhattan to assign a broad range of facilities and activities to the company’s administration. Faced with the unexpectedly rapid growth of Oak Ridge, which brought an immediate need for a multiplicity of new community services, District authorities found a ready and effective

Page 445

Main Post Office and 
Theater in Oak Ridge

Main Post Office and Theater in Oak Ridge

solution in a policy of “give it to Roane-Anderson.”25

Roane-Anderson gradually took over responsibility for administration of most community functions from the Town Management Branch of the CEW Central Facilities Division. In certain respects its role was comparable to that of the municipal administration of a civilian community, but there were also some major differences. It provided Oak Ridgers with the usual publicly owned utilities and also with steam heat and telegraph service. It paid the policemen, firemen, and medical personnel, but the District retained administrative control of the police, fire departments, and hospital. The company provided physical maintenance for the schools, but the District delegated their actual operation to Anderson County educational officials. In recreation, Roane-Anderson had no part at all. Instead, the District, in July 1943, permitted organization of a Recreation and Welfare Association, comprised of residents of the community, to operate theaters, bowling alleys, athletic fields, taverns, library services, and a weekly newspaper.26

Where Roane-Anderson’s role differed most greatly from that of an ordinary municipality was in its assumption of many of the activities normally carried out by private enterprise in American society. Thus, the company managed and maintained virtually all

Page 446

of the real estate of the community – housing of all kinds, farmlands (some of which it actually cultivated), forested areas, public grounds, and some fifty-four private cemeteries. It operated cafeterias (there were twenty at the period of peak employment in May 1945), laundry and dry cleaning establishments, and cold storage and warehouse facilities. It delivered coal, fuel oil, and wood to community residents in winter and ice in summer. A company concessions department rented space and granted licenses to private enterprise for grocery, drug, and department stores; clothing, shoe repair, and barber shops; and garages, service stations, and other commercial establishments in the town centers and neighborhood shopping areas. It operated a transportation system that included both on-site and off-site bus service, the 35-mile CEW Railroad, and the CEW Motor Pool.27

By February 1945, Roane-Anderson had more than ten thousand employees, recruited from among people living both on and off the reservation. From the start, the Army viewed direct operation of so many functions by a single contractor as a temporary arrangement. Consequently, when community growth began to level off, it assisted Roane-Anderson in transferring many community activities to more efficient specialized operators. By granting concessions, letting subcontracts, returning certain operations to District control, and terminating activities, the company reduced its direct employment to about five thousand by August 1945.

Among the major activities given up by Roane-Anderson were bus operations (taken over by the American Industrial Transit, Inc.), most housing operations, trash and garbage collection, and distribution of ice, fuel, oil, and coal.28

Through the CEW Central Facilities Division, the Army exercised close supervision over Roane-Anderson and the various community subcontractors and concessionaires. Beginning in the fall of 1943, several reorganizations of that division were at least partially designed to realign its various administrative sections so that they would reflect the shift from community construction to operations and more nearly complement those of the Roane-Anderson organization. These organizational changes culminated finally in November 1944 in establishment of a Roane-Anderson Branch within the division. Through administrative service, maintenance, utilities, transportation, and operations sections, this branch supervised counterpart sections, in the company’s community management organization, The chief of the branch, Maj. Henry G. Hoberg, shared executive direction of the community with Roane-Anderson’s project manager, Clinton N. Hernandez. In addition, a Central Facilities Advisory Committee, comprised of representatives of all the major contractors (including Roane-Anderson), assisted the division chief in coordinating community operations.29

Page 447

CEW reservation entry 

CEW reservation entry point

Limited reorganizations in 1945 did not change the basic relationship between the CEW Central Facilities Division and Roane-Anderson. In January, the district engineer transferred some of this staff’s functions – safety, special services (chiefly recreational activities), and public relations – to Lt. Col. John S. Hodgson, who had succeeded Colonel Crenshaw as division chief in May 1944, and, at the same time, changed Hodgson’s title to executive assistant (to the district engineer) for operations. Roane-Anderson also made some changes in its organization to adjust to its divestiture of certain major activities.30

The average civilian resident of Oak Ridge had most of the essential community facilities and services that would have been available in other comparable wartime communities. What he chiefly lost as long as he resided on the Clinton reservation were some of his civic rights. The War Department had declared the Tennessee site a closed military reservation effective 1 April 1943, with strict control of entry, guards at the gates, fences at strategic points, and mounted patrolmen regularly checking unfenced sections of its boundaries. The Army did not permit residents to establish and participate in normal municipal and township governments, although it did allow them to form certain social welfare organizations.31

Page 448

Chapel-on-the-Hill in Oak 

Chapel-on-the-Hill in Oak Ridge

But residents were not entirely without state and local civic rights. The legislature of Tennessee, concerned over the loss of state lands and taxes in earlier large cessions to the federal government, declined the War Department’s request in early 1943 to cede sovereignty over the Tennessee site: Oak Ridge’s legal status was that of a federal area, not a federal reservation. Hence, its residents legally were citizens of either Roane or Anderson County and of the state of Tennessee, subject to their criminal and civil laws and entitled to the civic privileges of those jurisdictions. They could, for example, vote in state and county elections. If they violated the law, they were subject to arrest by Oak Ridge policemen, deputized by the sheriff of Anderson County, and trial in local or state courts. The schools for their children, too, remained legally a part of the Anderson County system, although they were built and operated largely with federal funds. Because the District, for reasons of security, limited school attendance to the children of residents, the attorney general of Tennessee ruled that the schools were nonpublic and therefore not eligible for state aid.32

Residing in the atomic communities in Tennessee during the war years was in many respects similar to living in frontier settlements or boomtowns: mud in winter and dust in summer; houses partially built and incompletely furnished; the stores with essential items missing from their shelves; overcrowded schools, churches, and theaters; inadequate recreational activities, at least in the early months; and countless other deficiencies associated with communities that have grown too fast. Nevertheless, many Oak Ridgers would later recall with pleasure the prevailing sense of camaraderie and democracy among residents drawn from all walks of life – Nobel Prize-winning scientists, corporate executives, plant managers, skilled workers, officers and enlisted servicemen, manual laborers, and housewives – as they shared together the many hardships of life and worked together to solve the problems of day-to-day living under difficult circumstances. And for many residents, the excitement and satisfaction of being part of a great and

Page 449

unique enterprise that might well prove to be the key to winning the war sufficed to more than compensate for the many drawbacks.33