Wheat Community's 75 Anniversary

An East Tennessee community displaced during World War II is celebrating a 75th anniversary reunion.

The former Wheat Community is now called Oak Ridge.

The first settlers came here in the late 1700's and the town of Wheat, Tennessee slowly grew from there.

"A community that consisted of three churches, three stores, a post office, a gas station, a masonic lodge," said Steve.

But the small community was torn apart in 1942 when the government stepped in and took the land to make way for the Oak Ridge Manhattan Project complex.

Bonita Irwin recalls the letters everyone received to evacuate.

"I can almost see him sitting when he got his notice that he had to get out."

"It just overnight dissapeared. Within a few months there was no Wheat here," said Steve.

And by 1950, this George Jones Memorial Church was the only building left standing in Wheat.

"There was several years we couldn't get in here. It was a secret city," said Irwin.

Remaining members of the Wheat Community come together to share memories of their lost town.

"We all went to school. I graduated last."

Don Watson represents one of the 157 stars on this banner from Wheat who served in World War II.

"My mother told them, if you get the boys back home, they can have everything."

The George Jones cemetary is one of the few landmarks left of the Wheat Community. It's filled with those who grew up here and those who sacrificed for our country."

"The community was a close-knit community. The people worked together," said Watson.

And the people of Wheat are still working together, even though they're in Oak Ridge now.


WVLT VOLUNTEER TV

6450 Papermill Drive Knoxville, TN 37919 Phone - (865) 450-8888; Fax - (865) 450-8869
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2014 WVLT-TV Inc. - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 4280356