By Jeff Todd

DENVER (CBS4) – An exhibit dedicated to the history of the Rocky Flats Plant is now on display at the Denver Central Library. It manufactured nuclear weapons in Jefferson County.

(credit: CBS)

“My main concern with Rocky Flats is that the history has been forgotten and people don’t actually understand what happened at the site,” said Jeff Gipe the curator of “Facing Rocky Flats.”

(credit: CBS)

Gipe put on a similar exhibit for six weeks at the Boulder Library at the beginning of the summer. Now, “Facing Rocky Flats” can be seen in Denver through October on the 5th floor of the library.

Jeff Gipe (credit: CBS)

“You hear tidbits about Rocky Flats and the conversation is so complex. (The Exhibit) condenses all these very complex ideas and brings them to one space where we can understand what the site is, what happened there and why it’s important as we go forward,” Gipe said.

Twelve artists have different displays.

(credit: CBS)

“None of these artists had never shown together,” said Gipe. “Their work speaks to me so powerfully. I just wanted to bring it together.”

Photographs from inside buildings as clean up began, a representation of the 1969 fire, and portraits make up just part of the exhibit.

(credit: CBS)

“This is the hot area of Rocky Flats where they actually handled plutonium within glove boxes in these buildings,” Gipe said looking at a photograph.

Gipe is the son of a Rocky Flats worker. That’s where his motivation for the exhibit originates.

(credit: CBS)

“It’s a never ending battle that’s going to need to be fought. In less than a generation, we’ve already forgotten what that site is, what it means, and now it’s being rebranded to a wildlife refuge. There aren’t any signs that make anyone aware of what happened out there,” Gipe said.

LINK: Facing Rocky Flats At Denver Public Library

Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he’s been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.

  1. Billie Jo McIntire says:

    I am writing with hope that you stop building trails at the defunct nuclear warhead facility Rocky Flats. I have a total of 53 years experience literally, really living in the shadows of Rocky Flats (Dow, Kaiser Hill, Rockwell International, etc). My father, brother, sister and brother-in-law all worked there for over 30 years – my sister and her spouse until the final clean up days in 2005. I will never forget my father stockpiling food because he feared what he was doing. I’ll never forget the urine jars testing for exposure and my sister being scrubbed with wire brushes when she became contaminated as a lab tech. I’ll never forget my brother with skin cancers the size of footballs and my father being exposed to Beryllium. Mostly, I will never forget the words of my brother in law, making thousands of dollars on the clean up crew – “You wouldn’t believe the stuff we are doing.” Knowing full well, he was not being careful, he was not following protocol but, focused only on the money he was making and not the safety of our community. Then, he tried to double dip into the injured workers fund when he developed prostrate cancer. I can go on and on. My brother having to quit his electrical engineering position there when he could no longer sleep at night. My father still not talking about his experiences but having described folks literally just sweeping up stuff after a spill and being silenced when my sister was still employed there because he feared for her job. I will never forget 9/11 when the plant went on lockdown because of the planes crashing into the World Trade Center and my sister facing execution if she were to try and leave the plant. I have never had children. Who knows what my father was bringing into the house during my developing years. But I do know, he brought his anxiety home. His silence. His fears and his knowledge about very dark secrets. Do not keep building trails

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