Replica of national monument sparks controversy in Santa Fe

New Mexico

A statue in downtown Santa Fe is raising eyebrows. While the city says the 12-foot-tall structure symbolizes the growing economy, people KRQE News 13 spoke to were confused by it. 

A symbol of history or a symbol of death?
“It’s really beautiful,” said Patricia Price, visiting from Los Angeles. 
“It felt very inappropriate and upsetting to me,” said Matthew Chase-Daniel with the Santa Fe Arts in Public Places Committee.
In front of the Community Convention Center in downtown Santa Fe sits a replica of the Trinity Site’s National Landmark.

“I heard that the Cosmo’s production crew was filming out at the Santa Fe studios had this,” said Randy Randall, Executive Director of Tourism in Santa Fe. 
The Trinity Site is part of New Mexico’s history, the place where the U.S. tested the atomic bomb before it was dropped on Hiroshima in August 1945.

The sci-fi docu-series re-created the structure using the exact dimensions of the original, which sits on the White Sands Missile Range southeast of Soccoro. 

“It’s hollow inside,” Randall said. “It was a wooden structure that they put Styrofoam on top of.”

The producers planned to destroy the piece before Randall stepped in, asking to keep it.

“There was no charge to the city, it was donated by the production,” Randall said.

The Tourism Department says it not only symbolizes Santa Fe’s history with the atomic bomb, but the growing movie industry.

“For me the real value is to show how our local film artist people can produce something that looks so real,” Randall added.

It’s the similarities that many have issues with. 

“I do feel like it glorifies a very dark time,” Chase-Daniel said.

“I think it’s very deceptive and a problem for the people that come here,” said Willen Malten, Santa Fe resident.

“I wondered why it’s here if it isn’t where it actually happened,” Price said. 

“It’s a prop. That’s all it is,” Randall said. “And there’s no underlying meaning to it being here.”

People who KRQE News 13 spoke to say they would rather see the prop taken to schools to be used as a teaching tool. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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