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Ed Westcott's Secret City

A dog show.

Photo by Ed Westcott

A dog show.

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  • Ed Westcott
  • The Crossroads Tavern was a very popular watering hole. The original building on Robertsville Road is now a restaurant.
  • According to Col. Harlan Sanders’ autobiography, he worked as an assistant manager at Oak Ridge’s cafeteria system before returning to Kentucky after the war to start a new restaurant.
  • “Thankful,” is Ed Westcott’s memory of the African Americans he photographed and worked alongside in segregated Oak Ridge. In addition to having housing provided, whites and blacks at Oak Ridge tended to earn more than their civilian counterparts throughout the region.
  • A promotional visit by “Aunt Jemima” to give away samples of “her” products at the Tulip Town Market.
  • In the post-war years, teenagers became a new demographic force to be catered to—such as these kids at the Wildcat Den.
  • Commonly referred to as “Shift Change,” this scene of women workers at Y-12 is one of Westcott’s most familiar photographs. Don Hunnicutt recalls an anecdote from an Army sergeant stationed at Oak Ridge: “He thought he’d died and gone to heaven. There were two or three women to every man here.”
  • The Military Order of the Cooties may be the Secret City’s last secret. According to online sources, the Cooties are members of the VFW and still function in some towns much like the USO, providing comic relief and distraction to soldiers, especially the wounded.
  • According to Don Hunnicutt, “Growing up in Oak Ridge was an experience that most children would never understand. We were a locked-in, fenced-in city. We had a lot of places to go and visit within a short distance of where we lived. And life in the city was just really nice for that era.”
  • A pugilistic display on Jackson Square, at the tennis courts, which are still there.
  • A heartwarming scene of liquor-store patrons, all ages, all races. According to Emily Hunnicutt, “This is not Oak Ridge. We were dry. But it wasn’t far that they had to go to buy liquor. I think this was down in Oliver Springs.”
  • August 6, 1945: Ed Westcott shot several versions of this ecstatic scene before perfecting it by climbing onto a truck and shooting from above the crowd. According to Baldwin Lee: “Among the situations Ed Westcott liked to photograph most were crowd scenes. The excitement of clusters of people swept away by a common emotion was of great interest to him.”
  • Teenagers at the Wildcat Den.
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  • A dog show.
  • A demonstration of the first iron lung to arrive at Oak Ridge Hospital.
  • Model airplane club.
  • The farmers' market off E Division Road.
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  • A crowd views the new 1951 Fords at Oak Ridge Motors.
  • Father McRedmond pointing out the future site of St. Mary’s Church to Ed Westcott’s children, David, Jimmy, and Emily, in 1950. St. Mary’s was the first church to purchase land to build a church. Before that, every denomination held services in the different cafeterias and the chapel, almost every day of the week.
  • A flower show, 1949.
  • Another view of the Crossroads Tavern, 1949.
  • Interesting interactions at the Hilltop Market, April 13, 1948.
  • Photographer Ed Westcott, smoking a pipe at his desk in the (yes) medical office, 1943.

One of the government's early hires, Ed Westcott recorded the beginnings of the city built to support the Manhattan Project, 70 years ago.

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