Ms. Mushy and I took another little 3-mile stroll along a portion of the North Boundary Greenway today as we often do. The weather in East Tennessee was once again beautiful and in the 70’s, a wave of high pressure leading a change coming by the weekend.
This area was once part of the Gallaher-Stone Plantation, way back before the Government took it from the Wheat Community farmers in 1942 to build a bomb to end some little World War. Remnants of stone steps, house corner stones, and flower gardens can be found along the Greenway. Often a buck, following a couple of does will peep out of the pine thickets along the way and watch you as you approach, then dart across the road, white “flagged” tail waving goodbye.
You can also find well-groomed old family cemeteries that the Government still maintains. These cemeteries have very old headstones ornately marked with names and dates, while slave graves are noted only by a single large stone indicating which end the head was laid – no name, no date, just a stone to proclaim the hard work they provided their owners.
Today we walked a bicycle path into an old rock quarry area where limestone was once blasted out to build roads, concrete pads, footers, and compressor stands for the huge K-25 Plant near Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The plant is being torn down today by Bechtel Jacobs Company, a subcontractor to the Department of Energy, and buried nearby. The K-25 site, along with Y-12 and X-10, was once a bustling worksite with over 12,000 men and women (my dad included) working on the world’s greatest secret – so secret they didn’t even know what they were building. Only General Groves and a select few knew the full mission.
At some point, workmen hit an underground stream and the quarry flooded, probably covering equipment that couldn’t be removed in time. The water today is beautiful, reflecting the blue sky above and the green cedar trees that line the quarry’s edge. Only a few scraps of iron and a pile of concrete fence footers remain to bare witness to the work that went on there.
Since most people never get back in this area, I thought you might like to see a couple of pictures. I hope they brighten your day as they did ours.