Santa Fe and Los Alamos were the epicenter for the Manhattan Project, which produced the first atomic bomb. This year and into 2019, the New Mexico History Museum and the Santa Fe Opera will each feature presentations exploring New Mexico's Atomic Histories. The History Museum's Atomic Histories exhibition opens June 3, 2018 and runs through May, 2019. The Santa Fe Opera's, Dr Atomic, will have 5 performances in July and August, 2018.
Why would La Fonda feature a special surrounding these events? Because, in March of 1943, Robert Oppenheimer, his wife, and a few team members arrived in Santa Fe and stayed temporarily at La Fonda. Shortly thereafter, the lab where the atomic bomb was developed, Los Alamos Laboratory, was formalized and Oppenheimer was named director. Nearby to the hotel, the offices at 109 East Palace became the Manhattan Project's checkpoint for the scientists before they were taken up to Los Alamos. Dorothy McKibbin, who had her first encounter and interview with Oppenheimer in the lobby of La Fonda, led the charge in those offices.
The hotel was a gathering point for many of the scientists while they awaited a taxi to Los Alamos. Soviet spies and FBI agents swarmed about Santa Fe, spying on the American scientists who came to town to drink and dance at La Fonda on the Plaza. For this reason, the government immediately infiltrated the hotel staff, and many of the bartenders and cocktail waitresses were undercover agents as well as several of the front desk clerks and various other hotel staff.
Come experience the history of “The Manhattan Project” personally.