Last updated: December 5, 2022
Los Alamos County, New Mexico
More than 6,000 scientists, engineers, technicians, military, and support personnel voluntarily relocated to the Ranch School in Los Alamos and worked on the Manhattan Project, an unprecedented, top secret World War II government program in which the United States rushed to develop and deploy atomic weapons before Nazi Germany. Under the leadership of General Leslie Groves, a secret military base and laboratory was erected within weeks. Concurrently, under the direction of University of California, Berkeley and Cal Tech physicist and professor, Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer, the world’s best and brightest in the scientific fields of theoretical and experimental physics, chemistry, and weapons research was recruited. Within 26 months, these brave and determined persons harnessed the power of the atom and created a weapon that hastened the end of the war. The contribution of Los Alamos during WWII has been well documented, and it was included in the Manhattan Project National Historical Park in 2015.
Today, visitors are greeted by a gate house that replicates the original entrance to the “Secret City” of Los Alamos. The Manhattan Project continues to play a significant role in the community and region. The County’s priority and commitment to preserving Los Alamos’ WWII heritage is incorporated into the community’s approach to planning and development. Recent projects have included the: redesign of the Los Alamos History Museum exhibits; renovation and interpretation of the Historic Fuller Lodge; acquisition, renovation, and preservation of the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) building to serve as a museum and visitor center; installation of a climate controlled Historic Archives facility in the County Municipal Building; and implementation of a historic downtown walking tour.
The community commemorates their home front history at sites like the Los Alamos Memorial Rose Garden, a Blue Star Memorial Byway site, which was created to build living memorials to loved ones who died in Los Alamos but could not be buried here during the Manhattan Project.
Each year on November 11th, the County hosts a Veterans Day Ceremony, which in 2015 served as the grand opening event for the national park visitor center.