Durango Herald Democrat, Aug. 4, 1945:
Durango’s smelter played a role in the developing of the atomic bomb. Under government contract, the United States Vanadium Corporation re-opened Durango’s old smelter. What was transpiring there remained a secret even to the men working there.
The ore brought in was being milled for uranium and vanadium, but for what purpose remained unknown. The secrecy, as would be imagined, created much conversation and speculation, but Durangoans soon found out.
HHHATOMIC BOMB A REALITY: POWER EQUAL TO 20,000 TONS OF TNT –The atomic bomb represent years of work, years of experiments. Scientists all over the world have been trying to find the formula for the atomic missile. Mr. Truman calls the bomb the greatest achievement of organized science in history.
HHHLOCAL PLANT PROCESSING URANIUM ORE – Southwestern Coloradoans who have felt that this region’s contributions to the World War have been very slight can now let it be known that this immediate portion of the Southwest has given our forces the vital weapons which may crush Japan. New Mexico revealed as the super-bomb’s testing ground.
August 7, 1945, the headlines announced: Radio Tokyo brands new aerial weapon as ‘sadistic’– The enemy’s radio announced that several atomic bombs descended on Hiroshima by parachutes yesterday, and exploded when hitting the ground.
Duane Smith is professor emeritus of history at Fort Lewis College. Reach him at 247-2589.