Colorful banners all over town proclaim, "Los Alamos: Where
Discoveries Are Made:"
As the opening quote illustrates, "discoveries" can take on many
contexts in the Los Alamos area from early Native American inhabitants
to 19th Century homesteaders, 20th Century scientists who pioneered
technological inventions like the atomic bomb, and 21st Century visitors
like Jim and me who delight in finding awesome scenery, great trails, historical
sites, and whatever else interests them.
This is our fourth visit to Los Alamos and the third year I've
included information about it in our web journal. Each year we find
something new and interesting here to report on.
I also like to feature new photos of the same places we've enjoyed
previously. That's the purpose of this entry -- a few different photos
from a short walking tour downtown that I took this afternoon around Ashley Pond,
Bathtub Row, Fuller Lodge, an ancestral pueblo dwelling, and Central
Avenue near the Post Office.
There is much more information about this part of town in my
13, 2009 entry. I promise to be more brief here!
This has been an unpredictable day weather-wise, as noted in the last
entry about Jim's and my hike on some trails in the morning. All the
photos in this entry were taken within an hour of each other. You can
see how the clouds moved in and out. We expected to get wet at any
minute, but it didn't rain again until we got back home. (Home is where our camper is,
While Cody and I walked around a few blocks, Jim visited the Los
Alamos Historical Museum and Bradbury Science Museum. Those are also
featured in the 2009 link above.
Three decades before the Army Corps of Engineers took over the mesa
on which the town of Los Alamos now stands, a man named Ashley Pond
bought a ranch that was located here and turned it into the Los Alamos
This prestigious early 1900s boys' school combined rigorous academics and challenging
physical activities. Several buildings from the Ranch School remain,
including Fuller Lodge and the nearby Historical Museum.
My favorite story about the Ranch is how the boys came up with a
clever name for the natural pond on the property -- "Ashley Pond" is
a geographical pun on the school's founder's name! So it's really Ashley
The boys at the Ranch School used the pond for
year-round recreation. In the winter blocks of ice were also cut from the pond
and stored in an ice house.
That structure no longer exists. A memorial stands at
the site, which was the location of the labs where the Trinity nuclear
components were built during WWII.
In quite a contrast, the pond is now an idyllic setting
for residents and visitors to Los Alamos. Folks of every age stroll around its
perimeter, sit on the benches to watch the ducks and fountains, or
enjoy a picnic lunch on thick green grass among the Art in Public Places
sculptures scattered over the grounds.
What a nice park! Hard to believe that atomic bombs were
made right here.
FULLER LODGE & ART CENTER
Across Central Avenue from the pond is a large log-and-frame building called
When it was built in 1928 the first floor served as the Ranch
School's dining room and kitchen; it also contained guest, staff,
and nursing quarters.
I don't know what it was used for during WWII when the government
took over the property. After the Manhattan Project moved out in the
late 1940s, wings were added and the building was turned into a hotel.
Now it's a community building that is used for social gatherings and
meetings. It houses the offices of several arts and cultural offices,
including the Art Center:
I've never visited this non-profit visual arts center so
I decided to check it out this time.
The art center is free to the public and
occupies both floors of the south wing. The exhibits of beautiful works
by local and regional artists change each month. Many of the pieces are
Jewelry and other locally produced artwork is
also for sale.
ANCESTRAL PUEBLO & MORE
Cody couldn't go in the the Art Center, but he
accompanied me as I re-visited the beautiful Mesa Public Library
grounds, Bathtub Row (originally homes for the Ranch School's faculty,
then officers with the Manhattan Project, and now privately owned), and
the ancestral Pueblo site behind Fuller Lodge which dates back to
about 1225 CE (Common Era, formerly called AD):
That's just a small sampling of the things you can see in Los
The Chamber of Commerce is a good starting point for
any visitors to the city -- first, their
visitor center on Central Avenue near the Bradbury Science
Although you may need wheels to see all of the city, the
best way to see a wide range of local history is to follow the
12-block long downtown walking tour route for an hour or two.
Next entry: dramatic skies over Los Alamos + weather
mayhem all over the country
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil,
and Cody the Ultra Lab
© 2011 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil