Los Alamos County, New Mexico

aerial image of los alamos laboratory
WWII-era photo of the Manhattan Project Main Technical Area (Tech Area), Los Alamos, New Mexico.

Los Alamos National Laboratory

Quick Facts
Los Alamos County, New Mexico
Home of the Manhattan Project, a top secret US government program during WWII that rushed to develop and deploy atomic weapons in order to hasten the end of the war.
American World War II Heritage City

American World War II Heritage City

During World War II more than 6,000 scientists, engineers, technicians, and military and support personnel voluntarily relocated to the Ranch School in Los Alamos, New Mexico to work on the Manhattan Project, an unprecedented, top secret US 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 military base and laboratory - a "secret city" - was built 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 were recruited for the project. 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. In the 1950s the laboratory was moved from its original location to its present site and the security gates were removed allowing Los Alamos to become an open city. In 2015 the Los Alamos site was included in Manhattan Project National Historical Park.

Today, visitors to Los Alamos are greeted by a gate house that replicates the original entrance to the “secret city”. The Manhattan Project continues to play a significant role in the community and region. The County’s priority and commitment to preserving Los Alamos’ World War II 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 an 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.

Last updated: September 21, 2023