Craig Martin Wins New Mexico-Arizona Book Award for ‘Los Alamos Place Names’

Los Alamos author Craig Martin

Staff Report

Los Alamos Place Names by Craig Martin of Los Alamos won for Best Reference Book when the winners in 53 categories of the 2013 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards were announced at an awards banquet at the Hotel Albuquerque Friday, Nov. 15.

Los Alamos Place Names was published by Bathtub Row Press in Los Alamos.

“This award isn’t recognition for just me as author, but to the whole editorial and design team at Bathtub Row Press,” Martin said after receiving the award. He especially credited editor Sharon Snyder, herself the 2012 recipient of the Best Biography—New Mexico award, for steering the manuscript into the final product.

Bathtub Row Press is affiliated with the Los Alamos Historical Society and specializes in publishing books related to the short but colorful history of Los Alamos.

Los Alamos Place Names offers hundreds of stories behind the names attached to the area’s mountains, canyons, streets, ball fields, and structures. The names are as diverse as the people who have inhabited the Pajarito Plateau: the Ancestral Pueblo people, hard-working homesteaders with roots in Spain or the Midwest, students at the Los Alamos Ranch School, scientists of the Manhattan Project, and modern residents with a quirky sense of humor.

Along the way, readers meet Los Alamos National Laboratory directors, archeologists, government contractors, mountain bikers, and love-struck teenagers, each of whom contributed names to the town’s lore. The origin of some names is obvious, like Burnt Mountain. Other names, such as Nail Trail, have stuck after a single incident, while others—like Malfunction Junction—evolved over time.

The book is available locally at the Los Alamos Historical Museum bookshop.

Martin is the author of 14 books focused on outdoor recreation in New Mexico and local history, including 100 Hikes in New Mexico, Los Alamos Trails, and Valle Grande: A History of the Baca Location No. 1.