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This year, Los Alamos County marks the 60th anniversary of becoming a county.
Claiming status as a county sounds like such a simple thing, but, in truth, there was nothing simple about it.
Many of the “rights” that today’s independent-minded Los Alamos County citizens consider basic – voting in elections, owning a home with dependable utilities, having a County Council with real power – came agonizingly slowly, in a long, complex series of crises and decisions that reached to the very top of American government.
The ‘Secret City’
Los Alamos began as a secret city, deliberately located in an isolated area so that Manhattan Project scientists could create “The Gadget” – the atomic bomb, the weapon that ended World War II.
Originally, Los Alamos was truly a hardship assignment. People lived in tiny trailers and “Pacific Hutments” equipped with outside latrines “to reduce costs.” They coped with wood-burning stoves, water shortages, power shortages, and gas shortages.
Early photographs show that they sometimes had to wallow through knee-deep mud to get to their daily assignments.
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