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.)
These articles are written by the Los Alamos Historical Society Staff. Many of these articles were originally published by the