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The National Trust for Historic Preservation recognized today the restoration of a modest building where the world’s first plutonium bombs were assembled At the 2008 National Preservation Conference, meeting in Tulsa, Okla., the trust named the V-Site project at Los Alamos National Laboratory as one of 21 national award winners. “The V-Site is architecturally humble but historically significant,” said Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation in an announcement. “Thanks to an innovative preservation partnership, the centerpiece of a crucial time in history will not be lost.” As the Manhattan Project began what many thought was a race for atomic supremacy, wooden sheds known as the V-site were thrown together in a relatively remote part of a secret location on a isolated plateau in northern New Mexico. Abandoned almost as rapidly as they were built, the V-Site buildings quickly eroded and were in danger of collapsing after World War II. The buildings stood empty and threatened with demolition until the 1990s when historians and preservationists mobilized to save the vestiges of the original laboratories. The National Trust’s explanation of the award described another dimension of challenges that had to be overcome.
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