Greetings!  A New Year is under way and indications are that it will be a good one.  Our membership is stronger than ever, over 250, and I’ve noticed newcomers and others often ask what kind of activities we are involved in, so I hope these highlights will help inform everyone.  It was noticed that during 2022 there were fewer Zoom meetings and more willingness to meet in person, hopefully the new year will be a healthy one and productive.

In Jan – we had a meeting at AMSE, where the Oak Ridge History Museum (ORHM) and other museums from our region were invited to see where we can promote tourism for us all.

Feb – meetings were held with Rose Weaver and others with ties to the Scarboro Community to discuss how to enhance exhibits in the ORHM that relate to the African American experience in Oak Ridge.

Feb – met with property manager (Goldman Partners) for the former Red Cross Building, located on the O.R. Turnpike.  A walk through of the building was made and areas were noted for improvement to encourage a new renter (or buyer), and still maintain the building’s historic integrity.  Follow up to be made with owner Tony Cappiello.

Feb – ORHPA Membership meeting via Zoom, guest speaker was photographer Martin Miller, who presented photos from many DOE sites and related historical information not commonly known.

Feb – the ORHPA Facilities Committee met with Al Wulff and Tim Nurvala on several issues, including how to improve the ORHM, and options to consider for the building, the grounds, and related projects.  This meeting led to a series of committee meetings on these subjects throughout the year.

March – met with City Manager Mark Watson, discussed with him several issues, including the city property that borders our property, concern for the historic Stone Pillar Bridge in disrepair, and the need for Oak Ridge to have a historic preservation plan.  Mr. Watson gave the okay to meet with City Eng Roger Flynn to discuss options to repair the bridge.  Mick and Roger Flynn met at the bridge, ..more on this later.

March – exhibits were added to the ORHM, and others were modified and improved.  Our museum continues to get much praise!

April – meetings to plan the build of a replica Hutment to enhance the ORHM.

April – the ORHPA participated in a NAACP program at the Scarboro Community Center to judge a children’s art contest featuring the historic Scarboro 85, and the desegregation of Oak Ridge Schools.

April – meetings began to plan a celebration for Oak Ridge’s 80th Anniversary in September, according to the City of O. R., they were not planning an event.

May – ORHPA Membership meeting, with guest speaker Carolyn Krause, her presentation focused on “Unsung Heroes of the Manhattan Project”.

May – unveling of the roadside historical marker for the outdoor Oak Ridge Pool. The city has a committee studying structural problems with the pool, and options to address those concerns.  The ORHPA will continue to monitor.

June – the Ed Westcott statue project began. The ORHPA (Mick) met with Jackson Square merchants (David Bradshaw and Barbera Ferrell) to discuss details, and a possible location near the Playhouse.  Donations can be made to Pinnacle Bank or to the ORHPA, note “Westcott Statue” in memo. A related brochure is being developed.

July – held a luncheon/training for the ORHM Volunteers, focus was to show appreciation to those that support the museum and to provide updates.

Aug – construction began on the Hutment under the coordination of Terry Domm and Don Hunnicutt. .. Update: The exterior is mostly complete, expect a ribbon cutting celebration in early 2023.

Sep – the ORHPA celebrated with the community Oak Ridge’s 80th Anniversary at the historic Grove Theater   Keynote speaker was Cindy Kelly, president of the Atomic Heritage Foundation. Entertainment from the ORHS Jazz Ensemble.

Oct – meeting with Niki Nicholas (National Park Service) on ways to collaborate with the ORHM and possibly other area museums to promote tourism and enhance the visitor’s experience.

Oct – the ORHPA joined with the Wheat Alumni Association in their annual Homecoming, held at the Wheat Church near K-25.

Oct – an ORHPA Membership meeting/ field trip was held at the historic Freels Cabin, located on Freels Bend, which is under the stewardship of DOE. Also hosting the event were Advocates For the Oak Ridge Reservation and Tennessee Citizens for Wilderness Planning.  The public had a rare opportunity to see the historic cabin (circa 1840), and get an update on its foundation repairs.

Oct – the annual ORHPA Historic Preservation Award was presented to the Railroad Maintenance Building (Bill Simon), located on Warahouse Road.  This well preserved building helps tell how the railroad played a key role in building early Oak Ridge.

Nov – the ORICL organization invited the ORHM (Karla and Mick) to share with the public how the museum came to be, recent improvements, and newly opened exhibits.

Nov – the ORHPA held a special program open to the public that featured the historic Oak Ridge Bombers baseball team. Katatra Vasques organized and presented the program that included original team members, and an unveiling of a Bombers jersery, now on display at the ORHM.

Dec – the Annual Meeting was held as required by our bylaws, and a catered meal was provided in the Wildcat Den Room.  Elections to the Board were held following a report from the Nominating Committee (Terry Domm).  Due to term limits, coming off the board were Mike Bradshaw, Bobbie Martin and Mike Stallo, and we thank each of them for their service!  Newly elected to the board are Kathy Kelly, Karla Mullins, and Jean Norris!

I end with a huge and sincere THANK YOU to all who helped make 2022 a great year.  Much is in the works as we begin 2023.  As you can tell by our activities there are many opportunities for you to volunteer.  We especially need volunteers with our museum, even if you can only help a few hours a month (see ORHM Director Karla Mullins).  And let me know if you have questions or see ways we can improve. Hope you have a great 2023!

Mick Wiest