The Guest Cottage as it appeared in 1942. Courtesy/Los Alamos Historical Society Archive
The Guest Cottage, 2018. Photo by Todd Nickols
By SHARON SNYDER
Los Alamos Historical Society
For more than a century, the oldest continuously used building in Los Alamos has served at different times as an infirmary, a guest cottage, living quarters, a shelter for skunks, and a museum and gift shop. As we might expect, a building that has existed on the plateau for that long has stories to tell!
Referred to as the Guest Cottage for most of its existence, the building can be documented as far back as 1918 in records left by the Los Alamos Ranch School (LARS).
It may have been on the plateau before the school was established. The first recorded occupant was Genevieve Ranger, the first nurse and matron for the school. She lived in the tiny log cabin, which doubled as the school’s infirmary, and also supervised the housekeeping and food service for the school. She left in 1924 and was followed by other matrons and nurses who would eventually live in Fuller Lodge when the infirmary was moved to the second floor.
April 1st marks the 75th anniversary of Los Alamos becoming a “Company Town” with the Zia Company being contracted to run the Los Alamos Laboratory and the community of Los Alamos in 1946. They managed the town until the early 1960s, and continued to manage the Laboratory until 1986. You can still find evidence of the Zia Co. in some Los Alamos homes today with markings on bathroom mirrors or furniture.
#InsideTheArchives you will discover the many influences that the Zia Company had on Los Alamos history through photographs of their work and employees, documents managing utilities and permits, and artifacts such as hats and IDs; and that’s just a fraction of what we have related to this 40-year period!
Did you or a family member work for The Zia Company? Do you have a piece of furniture that has Zia Company instructions, stamp, or property tag? What do you remember about Zia Company’s impact on Los Alamos and the people who live here?
These articles are written by the Los Alamos Historical Society Staff. Many of these articles were originally published by the