Manhattan Project National Historical Park Tour

The new Manhattan Project National Historical Park, with sites in Oak Ridge, Tennessee; Hanford, Washington; and Los Alamos, New Mexico, preserves the sites, facilities, equipment, artifacts, and stories associated with this the unprecedented top-secret p

Manhattan Project National Historical Park Tour

Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37830, United States

Created By: Explore Oak Ridge

Tour Information

With the hope of developing technology that would end World War II, the U.S. government built Oak Ridge under a cloak of great secrecy. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, the city of Oak Ridge didn’t even exist. But in 1942, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers purchased 59,000 acres of century-old family farms and small rural communities for a top-secret mission to produce the world’s first atomic weapons, known as the Manhattan Project.

Established amid concerns that Nazi scientists would create a bomb capable of horrific destruction, the Manhattan Project sought to develop an atomic bomb before the Germans could. In valleys located away from Oak Ridge, the government built three production facilities for the Manhattan Project: Y-12, X-10, and K-25. At the time, the K-25 uranium-separating facility was the largest building in the world, covering about 44 acres. Inside these top-secret plants, scientists and workers used two methods, and then eventually three, to produce fissionable material needed to develop atomic weapons.

To accommodate the massive influx of workers for the Manhattan Project, the government had to build a Secret City from scratch. U.S. engineers designed 3,000 prefabricated homes that were shipped from an Indiana factory complete with walls, floors, room partitions, interior wiring, plumbing, and furniture. Just two and a half years after Oak Ridge was founded, the city skyrocketed to a population of 75,000, making it the fifth-largest city in Tennessee.

Tour Map

Loading Tour


What You'll See on the Tour

American Museum of Science and Energy

For STEM teachers searching for inspiring science field trips, The American Museum of Science & Energy (AMSE) offers innovative learning opportunities that students won’t forget. As one of the best science museums in the southeast, ... Read more
International Friendship Bell

This 8,000-pound bronze bell is a testament to the hope for everlasting peace and goodwill throughout the world. Cast in Japan, the bell is the first monument between a Manhattan Project city and Japan. The International Friendship Bell is ... Read more
Secret City Commemorative Walk

Located in Bissell Park, this memorial honors the thousands of men and women who moved to a city that was not found on maps to help end World War II. The memorial’s oval walkway features 10 bronze plaques that tell the story of Oak Ridge ... Read more
Jackson Square

Jackson Square lies at the center of the historic district, which once served as the city’s original town site. During World War II, this area was open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Today Jackson Square features a variety of eclectic sho... Read more
Alexander Guest House

The historic Alexander Inn, originally known as The Guest House, was built during the Manhattan Project to house official visitors and was later used as a hotel. Included on the National Register of Historic Places, this historic gem is jus... Read more
Chapel on the Hill

This beautiful wooden chapel was Oak Ridge, Tennessee’s primary church during the Manhattan Project. Completed in October 1943, Chapel on the Hill was originally a multi-denominational chapel shared by Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish con... Read more


Leave a Comment



Download the App

Download the PocketSights Tour Guide mobile app to take this self-guided tour on your GPS-enabled mobile device.

iOS Tour Guide Android Tour Guide



Updates and Corrections

Please send change requests to