Los Alamos HeritageWalk into the Atomic Age
In 1943, the school closed and in its place gathered some of the world’s greatest scientific minds tasked with unlocking the secrets hidden in the atom. Led by J. Robert Oppenheimer, a physicist at the University of California, this group of men and women conducted fundamental research which led to the world’s first atomic bomb.
Most of the hundreds of temporary war-time buildings of the Manhattan Project era are gone now, but remaining in the historic heart of Los Alamos are former ranch school buildings that also served the Manhattan Project. Fuller Lodge, designed by famed architect John Gaw Meem, is a massive vertical-log structure built in 1928 to serve as the Ranch School dining hall. After World War II, wings were added when it was converted to a hotel.
Adjacent to the lodge in the former ranch school guest house is the award-winning Los Alamos History Museum, interpreting the social history of the plateau. Admission is $5 for non-county residents. Be sure to pick up a free copy of the Historic Walking Tour map that provides a journey through time—from the Stone Age to the Atomic Age.
World War II ended in 1945, due in part to the work done here at Los Alamos, New Mexico. In 1947, the Atomic Energy Commission assumed ownership and began building a modern town to support the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory. In 1957, the security gates came down and property was sold to private individuals. Since then the town has continued to grow.