Before the arrival of the Manhattan Project in 1943, the Pajarito Plateau in northern New Mexico was sparsely populated. Local homesteaders worked the land. Not-so-local boys attended the Los Alamos Ranch School atop one of the plateau's mesas. When the Manhattan Project came, homesteaders had to abandon their cabins, and the school was forced to shut down. Manhattan Project workers repurposed some of the ranch school’s 54 buildings, and began constructing a laboratory and community. Almost overnight, Los Alamos became a gated, secret city with only two ways in and two ways out.
Last updated: May 4, 2023