Have you ever heard of The Pajarito Club? Do you know who started it, where it was located, or how long it ran? In February on Facebook we went #InsideTheArchives to explore the Club.
Nestled in Pajarito Canyon are the remnants of the Pajarito Club (now owned by Los Alamos National Laboratory). The Pajarito Club began with an idea of Ashley Pond Jr. In 1914, Pond wanted to purchase the Ramon Vigil Land Grant: 32,000 acres on the east side of the Jemez Mountains. With assistance from four of his Detroit friends (two bankers and two automobile executives), Ashley Pond Jr. acquired the land for $80,000.
The spot Ashely Pond Jr. chose for the Pajarito Club had previously been occupied by the Ramon Land and Lumber Company, and one of the remaining structures was repurposed by a Santa Fe architect to become the Pond home. Their home was a two-story building with a kitchen addition. Thus began the two-year existence of the Pajarito Club, an elite hunting and fishing club in Pajarito Canyon where a guide might take you fishing or hunting or you might just enjoy the peace and solitude of the mountains.
Even in those early days, Los Alamos attracted notable visitors including authors, archaeologists, architects, and others. However, as World War I escalated in Europe, Pond’s partners no longer wanted to be invested so far from home. The Pajarito Club closed in 1916.
There were a number of lasting effects from Ashley Pond Jr. coming to the Pajarito Plateau. It was during this time he met H. H. Brook and in 1917 they began the Los Alamos Ranch School. The Pond Cabin was used by Dwight Young, scientist and photographer, from 1945-1952 while working for Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory. Today, the Pond Cabin is part of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park and part of their historic Project-Y sites tour.
When you think about the impacts of people who came before you and the legacy you may leave for the future, keep in mind this quote from the publishing director for our own Bathtub Row Press and author of At Home on the Slopes of Mountains, Sharon Snyder: “If Ashley hadn't created the Pajarito Club, he would never have met Harold Brook and started the Los Alamos Ranch School. Without that school on the mesa, the Manhattan Project would most likely not have been located here, and all of us would be living somewhere else today!”
These articles are written by the Los Alamos Historical Society Staff. Many of these articles were originally published by the