Master Cottage #1 shown in 2018, now known as the Hans Bethe House and Harold Agnew Cold War Gallery. Photo by Todd Nickols
By SHARON SNYDER
The Los Alamos Ranch School (LARS) was in its seventh year when Director A.J. Connell had a small wooden building constructed to the west of the Big House to use as director’s quarters, giving him some privacy and freeing up space in the main building.
However, there was a slight miscalculation, and long foul balls from the nearby baseball field had the potential to land on his roof. When Fuller Lodge was under construction in 1928, Connell moved to the third floor and turned over the small plank house to two young masters—Lawrence Hitchcock and Art Chase.
In 1931, during a cold winter, the wooden cottage caught fire. With nearby Ashley Pond frozen over, there was little water to fight the flames, and the structure burned to the ground. There was, however, something odd about the fire. May Connell, A.J.’s sister, noted that one corner of the house burned much longer than the rest of the building. The explanation revealed that a 30-gallon keg of corn whiskey was stored in that corner! (Prohibition was still in force but winding down, and the young men said they were aging the keg in case prices increased when prohibition ended.)
By SHARON SNYDER
Los Alamos Historical Society
The road that is Bathtub Row today passed by masters’ quarters and classrooms during the Los Alamos Ranch School years. During the Manhattan Project, it was the road to the houses assigned to key staff members at Project Y, and now it leads to lovely homes, the History Museum, the offices of the Los Alamos Historical Society, and Fuller Lodge. The lane that became Bathtub Row has been significant in three eras of our history.
In the beginning the road was dirt and not much wider than a path. It wound its way through the Los Alamos Ranch School (LARS) property, and gradually a few rustic buildings appeared along the way. Those structures, built of logs and stone in the 1920s and 30s, are historic today.
The sign that made Bathtub Row an official street name. Photo by Sharon Snyder
This month on Facebook we're going #InsideTheArchives to explore the Oppenheimer House at 1967 Peach St. Affectionately called the Oppenheimer House, the log and stone structure was built in 1929 for the Los Alamos Ranch School.
Laura Gilpin photographed these Los Alamos Ranch School students in front of the Oppenheimer House around 1935. This is probably the Fir or Spruce Patrol, the two oldest patrols at the school. Back row: Chuck Pearce, John Wolf, James Woodhull, and Talbott Mead. Front row: Sandy Chapin, John Kiser, Jamie Soper, John Simondon, Henry Preston, and Paul Frank. Gift of Peggy Pond Church. Gilpin Collection, Los Alamos Historical Society Photo Archives.
This photo accompanied the 1959 article in the LASL Community News and shows the fenced area. The boys and their dog are Dick Lilienthal, 12; Dick Baker, 10; Chip Lilienthal, 10; and Shag, Courtesy/LASL Community News
By SHARON SNYDER
I’ve walked past the Ancestral Puebloan site in our historic district often since I moved back to Los Alamos in 2014, and I’ve sometimes wondered why I never noticed it when I was growing up here in the late 1950s and 1960s. Then, while doing research in our archives one afternoon, I noticed a story and photograph on the front page of the LASL Community News of Aug. 13, 1959. The picture showed that the pueblo remnants were behind a chain link fence and obscured by overgrown weeds and tall grasses.
The only structure visible in the scene behind the fence was a small stone building that had been part of the Los Alamos Ranch School campus. It was built in the 1920s by Severo Gonzales Sr., a homesteader hired by the school’s director, A.J. Connell, to build a stone storage structure to store firefighting equipment for extinguishing fires that might result from droughts or the use of wood burning stoves. Unfortunately, the stones used for that building came from the Ancestral Puebloan site, a common practice in the years before such structures were seriously studied and revered.
These articles are written by the Los Alamos Historical Society Staff. Many of these articles were originally published by the