In 1912 New Mexico became the 47th state in the nation with Santa Fe as its state capitol. Seventeen years later the state, along with the rest of the nation, was impacted by the Great Depression in 1929. The Dust Bowl era of the 1930s brought more hardship to the region. Government programs like the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), brought relief. In 1943 during World War II the dawn of the Atomic age got its start in Santa Fe. The Manhattan Project opened an office on Palace Avenue as a check point for scientists and military personnel. It was the first stop for workers on their way up to “the Hill,” at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Santa Fe’s Population Doubles
After World War II the population of Santa Fe doubled in size to almost 50,000 people. Returning soldiers took advantage of the G.I. Bill and received education and technical training. Prosperity followed with different types of industry, from manufacturers to bankers starting businesses. New housing developments were built to accommodate the growing population. In 1956 John Crosby founded the Santa Fe Opera. The opera landed on the map for classical music aficionados. Every summer they continue to trek to Santa Fe from around the world to experience professional opera. Also in 1956, the Bacigalupa Studio of Gian Andrea was the first art gallery to open on Canyon Road. The new gallery paved the way for Santa Fe. Today, it has the distinction as having one of the highest per-capita-ratio of art galleries in the nation.