In January, the Oak Ridge Heritage and Preservation Association organized a 96th birthday celebration for Ed Westcott. Westcott was the official US Army photographer at Oak Ridge during the Manhattan Project. In thousands of photographs, he documented the construction and operations of the "Secret City." He also captured the lives of Oak Ridgers, from the Y-12 "calutron girls" to young people socializing at the Wildcat Den.
As Oak Ridge historian and AHF Board member D. Ray Smith explains in a short documentary film he produced on Westcott, "You can read about Oak Ridge history, but words can only take you so far. Photographs bring the history to life." Thousands of Westcott's early negatives are now in the National Archives.
To honor Westcott, the City of Oak Ridge declared January 20 "Ed Westcott Day." According to Smith, nearly 200 people attended his birthday celebration. WBIR, the Knoxville News Sentinel, and the Oak Ridger also covered the event. To see some of Westcott's photographs, visit The Photography of Ed Westcott Tumblr.
On January 24, the National Park Service held an open house at the Children's Museum of Oak Ridge, featuring photographs taken by local third and fourth grade girls as part of the "Parks in Focus" photography initiative. The students' photographs were inspired by Westcott's black-and-white images.
In other Oak Ridge news, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports workers are expected to finish construction on a History Center at the site of the former K-25 Plant in 2019. UCOR, the contractor overseeing the project, recently awarded $5.3 million in subcontracts to support construction, improvements to the site, and the construction and installation of exhibits.