If walls could talk....

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By Special to the Monitor

Local writers spotlight a piece of history that is right in our downtown area. Craig Martin and Heather McClenahan address the artifacts from another era in their book, “Of Logs and Stone: The Buildings of the Los Alamos Ranch School and Bathtub Row.”

The Los Alamos Historical Museum will host a book-signing event for the authors from 5:30-7 p.m. Monday.

The book features the history of and stories about the oldest buildings in Los Alamos—Fuller Lodge and the smaller structures in the downtown National Landmark District.

The buildings are linked not only by a common history, but by building materials. Each is constructed of stout ponderosa pine logs and the most common local rock, Bandelier tuff, thus the title of the book, “Of Logs and Stone.”

“About 10 years ago, while doing research for a book on housing in Los Alamos, I stumbled across some photos of Fuller Lodge under construction,” Martin said. “They were absolute treasures and I immediately felt that they should have a greater audience.”

Martin found ample records of the building of Fuller Lodge in the papers of John Gaw Meem, the architect of the Lodge and portions of several other of the Master Cottages of the Los Alamos Ranch School. Eventually, he found that each building’s chronicle includes how they were built as well as the events that happened within them.

“Of Logs and Stone” looks at 11 local landmarks and tells the tales of each. Along the way are cowboys, Nobel Prize winners, citizen activists and atomic spies. Included in the book are chapters on the Lodge, the houses of Bathtub Row and Ashley Pond.

The importance of the buildings and the pond to the community runs deep, Martin said. His favorite stories are of citizens who found ways to convince the powers that be to preserve the history of the town.

To help pull together the details of this new publication, Martin enlisted student of history and former journalist Heather McClenahan, assistant director of the Los Alamos Historical Society and Museum.

“I served with Heather on the Fuller Lodge/Historic District Advisory Board and when other tasks pulled me away from this project, I was delighted to discover that she not only was a serious local historian but had plenty of experience with the written word,” Martin said. “She has been the perfect writing partner.”

For her part, McClenahan’s affection for Fuller Lodge blossomed into a passion for the history of Los Alamos. “I fell in love with Fuller Lodge the minute I walked into it. The walls there and along Bathtub Row have witnessed world-changing history. In essence, these are some of the stories the walls could tell if they could talk.”

“Of Logs and Stone” costs $14.95 at the Los Alamos Historical Museum Shop, which is located in the Los Alamos Historical Museum, just north of Fuller Lodge. The Shop is open from 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1-4 p.m. Sunday. Admission to the Los Alamos Historical Museum is free.