Gila Flats Test Base is the particle physics test facility owned by the government, located in the desert of Arizona. Its slogan is Per Dolorem Ad Astra. The Latin phrase on the sign, Per Dolorem ad Astra, means roughly "Through Sadness To The Stars". This would be a literal commentary on Dr. Manhattan’s current situation.
The base housed a bar called The Bestiary. It had a glass case with photographs honoring the base's past members and the sign "At play amidst the strangeness and charm". (a pun on the charm-strange property pair of quarks)
The phrase above the photographs in the broken frame reads: “At play amidst the Strangeness and Charm.” A quark is a type of subatomic particle and a major constituent of matter. There are six types of quarks which are coupled into three pairs. One of these pairs is the charm-strange pair, signified by this phrase.
Jon Osterman was assigned there upon graduating with his doctoral degree. Jon's work at the facility mostly concerned the study of the removal of intrinsic fields from solid objects using an intrinsic field subtractor, a powerful machine that utilizes radiation. While there, Osterman met his two closest friends, Wally Weaver and Janey Slater (who would later become his lover).
Osterman worked there for only a short amount of time before an accident occurs that seemingly killed him: he was trapped in the chamber of the Intrinsic Field Subtractor and obliterated when the locking program cannot be overridden and the door cannot be opened. Soon after, sightings of various ghostly bodily systems (circulatory, skeletal, muscular, nervous) are reported by the staff, leading to rumors of the base being haunted. One day, while Slater and Weaver still mourn the loss of their friend, Jon reveals himself reborn as a superhuman being with extraordinary powers.
The base was later swept by a devastating fire and is officially shut down. As Dr. Manhattan, Osterman paid the site one last visit, finding a picture of himself and Slater amongst the ruins. He then teleported himself to Mars as part of his self-imposed exile.