Virginia Montoya Archuleta is the youngest daughter of Adolfo and Elaisa Montoya. Her father Adolfo was the head gardener at the Los Alamos Ranch School. In this interview, she describes her father’s work at the school and her memories of living in Los Alamos. She also shares information about her family’s connection to Santa Cruz de la Cañada. Finally, she discusses her family’s role in a lawsuit seeking compensation for homesteaders displaced by the Manhattan Project.
Pat Krikorian arrived at Los Alamos in August of 1943, where she worked as a secretary for the Women’s Army Corps. Krikorian also worked with other WACs selling tickets and ushering patrons at Los Alamos’ movie theater. Krikorian describes some of the security measures at Los Alamos, including a run-in with a commanding officer who became suspicious about the content of letters she received from her brother who was serving overseas. Though Krikorian admits most WACs had no knowledge of what was going on at Los Alamos, she witnessed the flash from the Trinity Test and describes the celebrations after the Trinity test and after the first bomb was dropped on Japan.
Jack Aeby was one of the first civilian employees on the Manhattan Project, and captured the only color photograph of the Trinity test. He worked in many areas, starting with transporting people from Lamy to 109 E. Palace Avenue in Santa Fe and then on up the Hill. He was put in charge of the chemical stockroom. Aeby moved to P-5 (Physics Group 5) with Emilio Segrè and Owen Chamberlain. He reactivated the Los Alamos Ranch School’s Boy Scout Troop 22 on demand of the school superintendent. He discusses working with Emilio Segrè at Los Alamos, and how his famous photo of the Trinity test came about.
Stirling Auchincloss Colgate was a student at the Los Alamos Ranch School when the site was chosen for use in the Manhattan Project, and he describes the visits of J. Robert Oppenheimer and other project leaders. Mr. Colgate left Los Alamos to go to college and study physics, later working with many of the renowned scientists from the project.