100 memorable minutes: Kennedy’s unforgettable stop in Los Alamos

Read firsthand accounts of the president’s 1962 visit

December 7, 2022

@theBradbury - December feature Opt

On Dec. 7, 1962, President John F. Kennedy came to town for one of the most action-packed tours of Los Alamos — and the town never forgot it.

Guided by Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory Director Norris Bradbury, Kennedy and Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson checked on the progress of Project Rover, an endeavor using nuclear propulsion to potentially power rockets destined for space. Then, Kennedy drove down Central Avenue and capped off his tour at the high school’s football field, where he gave a speech to a crowd of about 6,000 people.

His entire stay ran about 100 minutes.

Ten years ago, to mark the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s visit, the Bradbury Science Museum featured artifacts and photos from the whirlwind tour. Museum visitors were asked to contribute their own memories; their notes were collected and are now part of the display, reprised just in time for the 60th anniversary of the visit. The exhibit will be up temporarily for the next few months.

You can see some of their handwritten notes below. Stop by the museum to see the full exhibit (which includes the cup Kennedy sipped from during a quick coffee break!).

To mark the 60th anniversary of Kennedy’s visit, the Bradbury’s “100 Memorable Minutes” exhibit features handwritten notes from people who were there.
@theBradbury December
@theBradbury December