Living and Working in Fuller Lodge
Here's another #InsideTheArchives post from our Facebook page, this one focusing on people whose lives intersected with Fuller Lodge: the waitresses of The Lodge hotel. In our society it is rare to live and work in the same location (although this is now the case for many us during this time of COVID-19). The Lodge had a restaurant and bar which served meals to its guests. The waitresses who served the meals for The Lodge lived there as well. There is even some mystery involved because we have conflicting sources about where the staff bedrooms were located in Fuller Lodge.
Rita (Martinez) Apel, a Los Alamos resident who worked at The Lodge as a waitress and hostess, shared some memories with our Archives staff in an oral history interview. Her recollections about living and working in the same place give us an idea of where their rooms were located:
"Well I worked at The Lodge as a waitress and then as a hostess, and then pretty much there and then when we were waitresses we were allowed to live at The Lodge. So all of us lived upstairs at The Lodge, all the waitresses, and we would just go up and come down and wait on people and met a lot of top people because that was the place to go."
Rita was only 15 when she began working as a waitress—she even fudged her age a year, saying she was 16, in order to get the job. She developed friendships with the other waitresses who lived at The Lodge with her. She remembers going upstairs to their rooms:
"Well, okay, there was the dining room and then there was a little room and when you went upstairs, upstairs on the left side all the waitresses stayed there, slept there, and came down for waiting on tables, so it was very nice. You went to the kitchen, upstairs—upstairs, all the waitresses lived there. And the other people that went for the night would go in a different area. But the waitresses we all had our own rooms up there, very nice. You'd go downstairs, work and come back, very nice."
Rita was from relatively nearby, in Chimayo, but despite the closeness to her hometown, she told us , "No, I lived [in The Lodge] and probably once in a while I'd go home to Chimayo. But most of the time I lived in Los Alamos."
We have another source, not as detailed, that mentions staff quarters on the first floor of the west wing of Fuller Lodge, though Rita is quite clear about the waitresses living on the second floor of that wing.
Have you ever had a time where you lived and worked in the same place? How do you feel about the experience? Have you recorded your history to share with future generations? And finally, are you able to shine some light on the mystery and tell us what floor and rooms in Fuller Lodge served as the wait staff quarters?
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These articles are written by the Los Alamos Historical Society Staff. Many of these articles were originally published by the