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Trip Planner USA  /  Tennessee  /  Oak Ridge

Oak Ridge

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Science Museums · Children’s Museums · Parks
Oak Ridge is a city in Anderson and Roane counties in the eastern part of the U.S. state of Tennessee, about 25mi west of Knoxville. Oak Ridge's population was 29,330 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Knoxville Metropolitan Area. Oak Ridge's nicknames include the Atomic City, the Secret City, the Ridge, and the City Behind the Fence.Oak Ridge was established in 1942 as a production site for the Manhattan Project—the massive American, British, and Canadian operation that developed the atomic bomb. As it is still the site of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, scientific development still plays a crucial role in the city's economy and culture in general.HistoryThe earliest substantial occupation of the Oak Ridge area occurred during the Woodland period (c. 1000 BC – 1000), although artifacts dating to the Paleo-Indian period have been found throughout the Clinch Valley. Two Woodland mound sites—the Crawford Farm Mounds and the Freels Farm Mounds—were uncovered in the 1930s as part of the Norris Basin salvage excavations. Both sites were located just southeast of the former Scarboro community. The Bull Bluff site, which was occupied during both the Woodland and Mississippian (c. 1000–1600) periods, was uncovered in the 1960s in anticipation of the construction of Melton Hill Dam. Bull Bluff is a cliff located immediately southeast of Haw Ridge, opposite Melton Hill Park. The Oak Ridge area was largely uninhabited by the time Euro-American explorers and settlers arrived in the late 18th century, although the Cherokee claimed the land as part of their hunting grounds.
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