The Manhattan Project: 70th Anniversary of the Atomic Bomb

The Building That Changed the World

By G G Collins          Copyright 2015

Rainbow Man shop Former office of The Manhattan Project

Rainbow Man shop
Former office of The Manhattan Project

On Palace Avenue just steps from the famous Santa Fe Plaza is a small building that changed the world. It was the headquarters for The Manhattan Project, the top secret mission to build the first atomic bomb and end WWII. Everyone, scientist and secretary alike, passed through this building. They came in the front door and left by the back door where they were secreted off to the Atomic City. No one left by the back door unless Dorothy McKibbin gave them a pass to “The Hill.”

McKibbin was looking for a job in March of 1943. She was offered employment at the First National Bank for $120 per month. Working at a bank wasn’t really what she wanted to do, but income was income. Then she met Joe Stevenson in an awkward conversation in the middle of the Plaza. He told her there was a secretarial position open that would pay $150 per month. But Stevenson was mysterious about what the job would entail.

She did accept the job and became the gatekeeper to one of the biggest discoveries of the last century. McKibbin kept that job until 1963 when she retired. She would remain a loyal friend to Robert Oppenheimer until his death in 1967.

Courtyard at Rainbow Man

Courtyard at Rainbow Man

The historic site, originally constructed in the 1600s as a Spanish hacienda, is now home to Rainbow Man. The shop is filled with Native American hand-made items, blankets, photos and folk art in vivid colors. The courtyard is beautiful rain or shine. Flowers brighten the entrance in vibrant hues. The old wagon only becomes more silvered with each passing year.

At the back of the courtyard, under the portal and behind the chile ristras is a plaque dedicated to those who split the first atom. Shoppers visit the store to take home a little bit of Santa Fe. Historians stop by for the history and wonder what it must have been like in the 1940s when The Manhattan Project was in full swing.

Commemorative Plaque to those who worked on The Manhattan Project

Commemorative Plaque to those who worked on The Manhattan Project

July 2015 is the 70th anniversary of the Trinity Test at White Sands, New Mexico.

Book Cover Atomic Medium 6-2015New book, Atomic Medium, takes place in Santa Fe during 2015 and 1945. It is the third installment in the Rachel Blackstone Paranormal Mystery Series. Get it at Amazon: http://amzn.to/1SWkjde

For more information, try these books:109 East Palace by Jennet Conant, The Manhattan Project edited by Cynthia C. Kelly, The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes.

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About G G Collins

Writer of Paranormal Mystery Series, Soft-Boiled Mystery Series, Teen & Young Adult Fiction. Reporter. Blogger.

Posted on June 13, 2015, in About, Arts, Atomic Medium, Books, History, On Location in Santa Fe, WordPress and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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