A Western Education for the Elite

Brown Moor School, Santa Fe, 1935. Photo by Laura Gilpin

The elite Brown Moor School all-girls school opened in Santa Fe in 1931. At Brown Moor students from well-to-do families from the East sent their daughters to experience a Western education. During the mornings they were taught a standard curriculum. In the afternoons they enjoyed horseback riding, archery, skiing, and other outdoor activities. The school closed in 1944 during World War II because the trains were needed to transport soldiers.

Los Alamos Ranch School

The Los Alamos Ranch School for Boys operated from 1917 through 1943. The young men that passed through the halls of this school where the sons of the rich industrialists from back east. These proud parents believed that their sons were the future leaders of America. Not only would they receive an academic education, they would participate in outdoor activities like horseback riding and fishing.

Attack on Pearl Harbor

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 America wanted revenge. The country knew that it needed to act fast and so the school was chosen for the location of the bomb. Percival Keith was a chemical engineer who worked on the Manhattan Project. His two sons had attended the Los Alamos Ranch School, so he suggested that location for the bomb to be built. The school’s infrastructure would help to expediate the creation of the atomic bomb. The U.S. Government took over the property in 1943 by eminent domain.

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