Happy Valley

A small service station surrounded by people, cars, and motorcycles
Happy Valley was home for thousands of workers constructing K-25.


Quick Facts
Oak Ridge, TN

Even though Oak Ridge was a secret, closed city during the Manhattan Project, several mini-communities existed within its boundaries. Happy Valley, a community designated for the workers at the nearby K-25 Gaseous Diffusion Plant, was a good example of the miniature “worlds” that existed within Oak Ridge during the Manhattan Project.  

In June, 1943 the J.A. Jones Construction Company began building housing for temporary workers involved in construction of the K-25 Gaseous Diffusion Plant and development of the Manhattan Project's Oak Ridge operations. The housing area’s population ranged from 9,000 to almost 15,000 people during the Manhattan Project. The community included a theater, grocery store, bowling alley, 100 homes, 900 trailers, men’s dorms, mess hall, barracks, a school, a recreation center and more. A smaller, more rudimentary workers’ community existed nearby for the segregated African American population. 

Happy Valley was a vital part of the Manhattan Project and the nation’s quest to develop an atomic bomb during World War II. The construction camp was demolished by the mid-1950s and the property was allowed to re-vegetate and became a mixed pine and hardwood forest. 

Continue Your Journey

The Happy Valley community no longer exists. It was located along SR-58 in Roane County, Tennessee, across from the K-25 site. Today, only roadside vegetation and forest remains. The Turnpike Gatehouse, K-25, the K-25 History Center, and the K-25 Overlook Visitor Center are a short driving distance away. Both the K-25 History Center and the K-25 Overlook Visitor Center will provide you with more information and exhibits on Happy Valley and the vital role the K-25 complex played during the Manhattan Project and decades after.

Manhattan Project National Historical Park

Last updated: March 11, 2022