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Vera Comes to Los Alamos

Vera Comes to Los Alamos


Narrator: The Los Alamos Ranch School’s
power generator building was constructed in the early 1930s. In 1944, the small stone building was converted
into a home for the laboratory’s explosives expert, George Kistiakowsky. George Kistiakowsky: I got this tiny little
house, a room and a half house, converted out of a diesel engine shed, or whatever it
is, built for the old school. Diesels were too small; they were taken out. Narrator: Kistiakowsky’s teenaged daughter
Vera vividly remembers spending two summers with her father in New Mexico. Vera Kistiakowsky: We drove to the Los Alamos
road, which at that time was very narrow and precipitous; it had not yet been widened. There were guards at the gate. There was a tall wire fence that went all
the way around. That was exciting. Then we came to the little stone house that
had been given to George to live in. Before, it had been a Red Cross center. There was a row of houses that had belonged
to the Ranch School, and it was called Bathtub Row because it had that desirable feature. This house is on Bathtub Row. It had a large living/dining area, with a
small kitchen—a Pullman kitchen—off it, and a small bedroom, and a bathroom sandwiched
between the bedroom and the kitchen. I slept in the bedroom and my father slept
on a couch. I do remember that we used to have agreements
that we would meet for lunch at Fuller Lodge, which was the big recreational area and also
housing area for guests, and had the best cuisine on the Hill.

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