Bingaman gets piece of LA, LANL history

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Zia Company ran residential areas of Los Alamos, lab after the war

By Kirsten Laskey

Politicians often receive a lot of souvenirs when they visit a town – a plaque or a group photo – but U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman was a given a gift that stands out from all the other memorabilia during his visit to Los Alamos Wednesday afternoon.

Los Alamos County Councilor Mike Wismer presented the New Mexico senator with a lock that is an artifact of the Zia Company, which ran Los Alamos living areas and the laboratory after World War II.

“I thought it was terrific,” Bingaman said. “It is a great relic of the history of Los Alamos and the role the Zia Company has played in Los Alamos, so I was very honored to receive it.”

Wismer said he presented this key to Bingaman because “It’s a symbol. The Zia Company operated and maintained the technical areas and all the living areas in Los Alamos from 1946-1986 and they did everything – all utilities. It ran the fire department, schools system, youth center, medical center, provided mail and janitorial service, did street maintenance and repair, operated the bus system, taxi service and did all vehicle equipment maintenance and repair – so essentially the Zia Company ran everything in this town when Los Alamos was incorporated.

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