Midway Gatehouse

A small white concrete building with guard tower between two wooded ridges
The Midway Gatehouse controlled access to Y-12.


Quick Facts
Oak Ridge, TN

Historical/Interpretive Information/Exhibits

How did the Secret City remain secret? By 1945, there were 4,900 civilian guards, 740 military policemen, and over 400 civilian policemen guarding the secret city. There were 14 civilian police officers per one thousand inhabitants. Comparable southern communities had a ratio of 1.6 officers to 1000 inhabitants. Roadblocks were set up often to make sure that individuals were where they were supposed to be. Every resident was required to wear a badge denoting the status of the individual. Most plant employees worked under a "need-to-know" clearance. This was how Manhattan Project managers secured access to their top-secret facilities.  

Several gatehouses throughout the city like this one ensured that all incoming and outgoing traffic was thoroughly vetted before they gained entrance to secret facilities.  

The Midway Gatehouse, one of three built after the war, controlled access to Y-12.  Armed guards stood watch 24 hours a day, seven days a week, ensuring that anyone without permission was turned away, often with the very real threat of force.  

Continue Your Journey

The Midway Gatehouse has since been deactivated. The interior is closed to the public but a wayside exhibit describing its history is visible in the gatehouse’s small parking lot. The Turnpike Gatehouse, which controlled access to K-25, is one of the best examples of an intact gatehouse in Oak Ridge.

Manhattan Project National Historical Park

Last updated: March 15, 2022