Celebrating Fuller Lodge

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By Kirsten Laskey

There is more than just 80 years of history located at Fuller Lodge. This time capsule is bursting with stories.


For Craig Martin, co-author of “Of Logs and Stone: The Buildings of Los Alamos Ranch School and Bathtub Row,” one of these stories begins with him listening to his daughter’s piano recital nine years ago at Fuller Lodge.

Martin said he was so excited to hear his daughter play on that grand piano at the lodge when he suddenly smelled smoke. It was the first time, he said, he caught a whiff of the smoke from the Cerro Grande Fire.

Fuller Lodge is a complex building. In addition to being a historical building, the modern-day centerpiece of the community and the location for so many memories, Fuller Lodge is an example of architecture and construction done right.

Martin said the theme for his upcoming talk for the Los Alamos Historical Society’s lecture series, which will be held at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, is “if you design a building right, 80 years later it will be used for the same purposes.”

Even when ownership goes from a school for boys to the U.S. Army to government agency to the local community, the building’s purpose remains intact.

“Certainly it is well designed,” Martin said. “But I think the unique log architecture both inside and outside gives you the feeling of being in the mountains and that’s what those guys designed it to be like.”

The guys who shaped Fuller Lodge were Los Alamos Ranch School Director A. J. Connell and architect John Gaw Meem.

With all the construction projects currently underway in Los Alamos, one of the lessons from this historic building that can be applied today is that form does not follow function. The two, however, are married and should be applied at the same time.

Martin said he became interested in Fuller Lodge while writing a book about houses in Los Alamos. He stumbled upon some photos of its actual construction.

He explained he had never seen any photos of Fuller Lodge’s construction in print and decided they needed to be published.

Martin said he is interested in sharing what he knows about this landmark building because “I think we take our history for granted so I want everybody to have some level of understanding of why that building is so important locally and nationally.”

The celebration of Fuller Lodge will extend beyond Martin’s talk.

The society’s annual meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Fuller Lodge. During the meeting, there will be an ice cream social and a semi-silent auction.

The auction will include items donated to the society such as vintage turquoise jewelry, original photographs, gift baskets and gift certificates.

Lou Pierotti and Bun Ryan of the Pierotti’s Clowns will host the live auction portion.

The annual business meeting will also be held to highlight the year’s achievements, elect incoming board members, recognize outgoing board members and feature plans for next season.

Winners of the silent auction will be announced at the end of the meeting and Martin and Heather McClenahan will sign copies of their book.