Tag Archives: Manhattan Project

Bigger and Better K-25 Overlook – Oct 2018

{Pam May – Interim President & CEO, The Roane Alliance}

If you have traveled lately on S.R. 58 near the Heritage Center entrance, you probably noticed construction happening at the K-25 Overlook. An expansion is underway to create a nice space where visitors can learn about recreational opportunities in the area, while also learning about the Manhattan Project National Historical Park. Outdoor gathering spaces and restrooms will be included near the overlook. There are also plans for trails on the property that will provide a glimpse into Happy Valley, a boomtown of 15,000 workers building K-25 that existed from 1943 until 1947. Today there is very little evidence of the city that included a school, theatre, bowling alley, post office, and grocery store. Remnants of the town remain on the property – slabs, fire hydrants, and even a car were left behind. The K-25 Overlook and Visitor Center should be back open to the public sometime in October.

Happy Valley

Happy Valley Service Station

Poplar Creek Seminary

{Robert Bailey – Roane County Historian}

A Tennessee Historical Commission marker for the Poplar Creek Seminary was dedicated on October 9th, 2013. The marker is located off Highway 58 in the former Wheat Community which is now in the Oak Ridge part of Roane County. The George Jones Baptist Church is visible behind the marker. The marker reads: “Poplar Creek Seminary” Wheat Community citizens established the Poplar Creek Seminary in 1877 as a center of higher education for area children. The seminary’s name was changed in 1886 to Roane College, chartered by the state of Tennessee as an accredited college. At its peak, the school enrolled 200 K through 12 and college students. In 1908, Roane College closed, replaced by the new Wheat High School near what is today called Highway 58. Wheat High School closed in 1942 when the surrounding community became part of the World War II Manhattan Project. “

The first president of Poplar Creek Seminary was W.H. Crawford who was also a teacher. In 1878, the land was given by J.W. and Martha J. Pyatt to the Trustees of the Poplar Creek Seminary. Those trustees were D.H. Gallaher, James W. Watson, J.F. Browder, W.T. Gallaher, George Jones, J.W. Pyatt and A.J. Burum (secretary). In 1879, George and Lucinda Jones gave 200 acres to the school which was to be “applied solely to the benefit of said institution.” In 1886, Poplar Creek Seminary became Roane College. Six Trustees of Poplar Creek Seminary made an application for a Charter of Incorporation with the State of Tennessee to create a school of higher learning. It had the power to “confer degrees and graduate students after passing satisfactorily through the course of study.” The Board of Trustees was to consist of representatives of the three denominations located in the community (Baptist, Presbyterian, and Methodist). There was not to be a majority of any of the denominations.

I have a personal connection to Roane College, in that my great-grandfather, Richard A. Ladd, attended there in the mid-1880s. He took the Normal Course of Study which was required to teach in the Tennessee public schools. After completing his studies, he became a teacher in the Roane County school system. In 1908, Roane College became a part of the Roane County education system, and the name was changed to Wheat High School. Until 1916, Wheat High School was still under the control of the Roane College Board of Trustees. Wheat High School closed for the Christmas Holidays in 1942 and never reopened. As a result, the students of families who were still in the area were bussed to Dyllis.

Wheat Community Citizens established the Poplar Creek Seminary in 1877 as a center of higher education for area children. The Seminary’s name was changed in 1886 to Roane College, chartered by the state of Tennessee as an accredited college. At its peak, the school enrolled 200 K through 12 and college students. In 1908 Roane College closed, replaced by the new Wheat High School near what is today Highway 58. Wheat High School closed when the surrounding community became part of the World War II Manhattan Project.

 

Wheat High School started as the Poplar Creek Seminary and later as Roane College.

Originally written for the Roane County Newsletter to the Community, December 2013.

History of the High Schools of Roane County

{Robert Bailey – Roane County Historian}

In Roane County’s history, four high schools were created by Roane County Court (now the Roane County Commission). Those were Roane County High School, Wheat High School, South Harriman High School, and Midway High School. The schools of Harriman, Oliver Springs, and Rockwood were created by the respective cities and were independent of the Roane County School system in their beginnings. Roane County High School had its origins as the Rittenhouse Academy and was the first high school created by the Roane County Court in 1905. Wheat High School started out as the Poplar Creek Seminary and later as Roane College. It came under the Roane County Board of Education in 1908 and closed in 1942 as part of the government acquisition of land for the building of Oak Ridge and the Manhattan Project. South Harriman High School was the third county high school to be created by the Roane County Court. The resolution was passed in 1915 and became effective in 1916. The school closed in 1963. Midway High School was opened in September 1947. It was the last high school to be created by the Roane County Court. It replaced Fairview and Paint Rock High Schools, which were organized as two-year or junior high schools in the 1920s. Harriman High School began in 1891. Beginning in 1922, Harriman High School was reported by the county superintendent as a county high school in order to receive more state recognition for funding, and the graduates of the school received state high school diplomas. As a city high school as opposed as a county high school, it was not recognized by the state until the county listed it as a county high school. It became part of the Roane County School System in 2003. Oliver Springs High School had its beginning about 1895. In 1925 the first four-year high school was organized. In 1935, the Oliver Springs Independent School District was dissolved, and it became part of the Roane County School System. Rockwood High School’s first graduating class was in 1892. In 1922 it was recognized as a state-approved high school. In 1935, both the Rockwood High School and Campbell High School became a part of the county system. Campbell High School was the only high school for blacks in Roane County. It started out as the Rockwood Colored School in 1920 and later became Campbell High School. It closed in 1965.

Wheat High School started out as the Poplar Creek Seminary and later as Roane College

Roane College, later Wheat High School near the K-25 plant

Originally Written for the Roane County Newsletter to the Community, May 2013.

Roane County’s School History

{Robert Bailey – Roane County Historian}

In Roane County’s history, four high schools were created by Roane County Court (now the Roane County Commission). Those were Roane County High School, Wheat High School, South Harriman High School, and Midway High School. The schools of Harriman, Oliver Springs, and Rockwood were created by the respective cities and were independent of the Roane County School system in their beginnings. Roane County High School had its origins as the Rittenhouse Academy and was the first high school created by the Roane County Court in 1905. Wheat High School started out as the Poplar Creek Seminary and later as Roane College. It came under the Roane County Board of Education in 1908 and closed in 1942 as part of the government acquisition of land for the building of Oak Ridge and the Manhattan Project. South Harriman High School was the third county high school to be created by the Roane County Court. The resolution was passed in 1915 and became effective in 1916. The school closed in 1963. Midway High School was opened in September 1947. It was the last high school to be created by the Roane County Court. It replaced Fairview and Paint Rock High Schools, which were organized as two-year or junior high schools in the 1920s. Harriman High School began in 1891. Beginning in 1922, Harriman High School was reported by the county superintendent as a county high school in order to receive more state recognition for funding, and the graduates of the school received state high school diplomas. As a city high school as opposed as a county high school, it was not recognized by the state until the county listed it as a county high school. It became part of the Roane County School System in 2003. Oliver Springs High School had its beginning about 1895. In 1925 the first four-year high school was organized. In 1935, the Oliver Springs Independent School District was dissolved, and it became part of the Roane County School System. Rockwood High School’s first graduating class was in 1892. In 1922 it was recognized as a state-approved high school. In 1935, both the Rockwood High School and Campbell High School became a part of the county system. Campbell High School was the only high school for blacks in Roane County. It started out as the Rockwood Colored School in 1920 and later became Campbell High School. It closed in 1965.

Originally Written for the Roane County Newsletter to the Community, May 2013.

The Harvey H. Hannah Highway

{Robert Bailey – Roane County Historian}

If you drive along the highway from Harriman to Oliver Springs, you’ll notice that Highway 61 is called the “The Harvey H. Hannah Highway.” The highway was named after Harvey H. Hannah of Oliver Springs who for 30 years was the Tennessee Chairman of the State Railroad and Public Utilities Commission. He served in the Spanish American War becoming Colonel of the 4th Tennessee Volunteers. He also became a Military Governor of a Cuban province. Cordell Hull who became United States Secretary of State served as a Captain under Hannah. Besides being a lawyer, military officer, and politician, he was well known as a great orator. He served as Adjutant General under two Tennessee Governors from 1903-1907. This was where he acquired the title “General.” In 1922, General Hannah was a candidate for Governor in the Democratic primary but was defeated by Austin Peay who would become Governor. On Nov. 8, 1936, Harvey H. Hannah died from a throat condition. Governor Hill McAlister visited Hannah before his death and asked, “Harvey, is there anything that I can do for you?” He replied, “Hill, I know that money is hard to get, but I hope that you will find enough state money to finish the Oliver Springs-Harriman highway.” The Governor did find enough money, and the highway was named in Hannah’s honor. Harvey Hannah is buried in the Oliver Springs Cemetery, and his tombstone is said to be the tallest monument in the Oliver Springs area.

Originally Written for the Roane County Newsletter to the Community, January 2013.