Saturday, September 2, 2017

The elementary school in the City Behind the Fence

Labor Day Weekend Postcard Blogathon #6

This unused postcard features an aerial view of Cedar Hill Elementary School in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. As the card itself states, this is "The City of the Atomic Bomb."

Alternately known as the Secret City, the Ridge, or the City Behind the Fence, Oak Ridge was a key production site for the Manhattan Project in the 1940s. Its location within a 17-mile valley and its low population (initially) helped the federally controlled town remain a secret, even as its population boomed by tens of thousands for the war effort. Even while the top-secret facilities were being constructed, they also built up a town around them to support the civilian workforce. Oak Ridge blossomed with movie theaters, restaurants, more than a dozen grocery stores, a library, churches, ballfields and, of course, schools.

According to Oak Ridge Schools website: "The Oak Ridge School District was born in the shadow of the Manhattan Project in 1943. Like the project that brought together the nation’s greatest minds for a common goal, the school system set the bar high for educational excellence from the beginning."

Cedar Hill Elementary School grew outdated and was demolished in the 1980s. A playground was established on the site in 1988.

The school district now has four elementary schools — Glenbrook, Linden, Willow Brook and Woodland.

This vintage postcard's photo was taken by J.E. Westcott, and one source pegs the date it was taken as March 1946. It was published by the Standard News Agency of Knoxville, Tennessee. And it was printed by Graycraft Card Company of Danville, Virginia.


  1. I’m Frank Blackistone. We lived in Oak Ridge from Feb ‘44 to Apr ‘54. I went to Cedar Hill School from ‘44 to ‘47. We had a great time in Oak Ridge. Looking back on our 10 years, I cannot think of a better place to grow up in.

  2. I attended Cedar Hill 1944-48. Have fond childhood memories of that area.

  3. I went to Cedar Hill for a brief time in 1972 when we lived in Oak Ridge. We were only here for three months, but I have such great memories of that place!