By: David Ray Smith (for a full treatment of John Hendrix's life and death, see:John Hendrix Details)
Y-12 is more than just a place and more than mere historical fact. Y-12, in the truest sense, is a vision brought to reality. Over 40 years before it was conceived in the minds of our government officials, it was seen in a true-to-life vision by John Hendrix, who is now called “The Prophet of Oak Ridge.”
In the 1940’s, Y-12 was a monumental national triumph over seemingly insurmountable obstacles, it succeeded in producing a new material so powerful that it changed the world forever and it represented the epitome of an idea transformed into spectacular and tremendous action. Yet to grasp the essence of “Y-12” requires more than just the knowledge of these facts, an understanding of the deeper truths and symbols of Y-12 must first be gained. The story of John Hendrix must first be appreciated for the wonder it brings regarding time and place and the power of the human mind.
John Hendrix, a mystic who roamed the East Tennessee woods around the turn of the 20th century, more than 40 years before Y-12 or Oak Ridge existed, told the future regarding Bear Creek valley that lay between two East Tennessee ridges and Black Oak Ridge just north of that valley.
He first predicted that soon a railroad would be built running from Knoxville through the central part of Anderson County. This prediction proved accurate and caused Hendrix to consider himself capable of even more amazing prophecies. He was told by a voice, he said, to sleep on the ground for 40 nights and he would learn about the future. He did as he was told and on the 41st day he emerged from the woods and beginning at the local crossroads general store he told everyone who would listen about the amazing things he had seen in his visions while sleeping on the ground.
“Bear Creek Valley some day will be filled with great buildings and factories and they will help toward winning the greatest war that will ever be.”
“There will be a city on Black Oak Ridge and the center of authority will be on a spot middle-way between Sevier Tadlock’s farm and Joe Pyatt’s Place.”
“A railroad spur will branch off the main L&N line, run down toward Robertsville and then branch off and turn toward Scarbrough.”
“Big engines will dig big ditches and thousands of people will be running to and fro. They will be building things and there will be great noise and confusion and the earth will shake.”
“I’ve seen it. It’s coming.”
John Hendrix died in 1915 at age 49 and is buried on a hilltop in a subdivision of Oak Ridge named “Hendrix Creek.”
His predictions were uncannily accurate. Twenty-eight years after his death, Y-12 was built in Bear Creek valley. It was constructed in 18 months with nine huge buildings and all the necessary support facilities. The uranium U-235 needed for the first atomic bomb was produced there that led to the end of World War II. The city of Oak Ridge was built on Black Oak Ridge.
So, Y-12 is more than just a place and more than mere historical fact. John Hendrix knew it long before anyone else.
For details of John Hendrix life and death plus an early photograph of his grave site go to the following link: John Hendrix Details
For information on how to purchase a book with the information on this web page and the details contained in the above link, go to the following link: Published work including John Hendrix information
For the story of John Hendrix's son Curtis Allen Hendrix go to the following link: Curtis Allen Hendrix
Curtis Allen and his family were one of the families who had to leave the Robertsville area to make way for the Manhattan Project. He was killed soon after moving away.