In 1914, Detroit businessman Ashley Pond constructed a log cabin on the Pajarito Plateau in north-central New Mexico. The one-room structure served as the office for the Pajarito Club, a guest ranch for well-heeled city folk looking for a little Wild West adventure. Although the Pajarito Club was short-lived (it disbanded in 1916), Pond remained in the area and went on to found the Los Alamos Ranch School in 1917. The elite prep school offered classical education and rigorous outdoor activity for boys ages 12–18. But once more, Pond’s business venture was fleeting. In 1943, the U.S. government acquired the school and launched Project Y of the Manhattan Project in its stead.
Here, Henry Stimson, U.S. Secretary of War, explains the acquisition to the Ranch School’s director.