Tuesday Marks Last Sleepover At Hans Bethe House

Los Alamos Historical Society Executive Director Heather McClanahan discusses next steps for the Hans Bethe House during a special gathering Tuesday evening at the historic home on Bathtub Row. The ‘Fifth Tuesday’ event for local Kiwanians was hosted by Steven Girrens and his wife Sharon Stover who won the final night’s stay at the house before exhibits fill the rooms and it is opened to the public. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com
 

Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

By CAROL A. CLARK
Los Alamos Daily Post

At its annual gala, the Los Alamos Historical Society holds an “experience auction” for its major fundraiser, at which cultural and historic experiences are sold to the highest bidder.

During the “experience auction” held Sept. 5, 2014, County Councilor Steven Girrens and his wife County Clerk Sharon Stover won the final night’s stay at the historic Hans Bethe House at 1350 Bathtub Row before exhibits fill the rooms and it is opened to the public.

The couple cashed in their historic event Tuesday night and turned it into a “Fifth Meeting” social gathering for members of the Kiwanis Club of Los Alamos.

“After everyone left the party, Steven and I set up our sleeping bags by the fireplace,” Stover said. “It was very charming and an honor for us to be the last couple to sleep in the historic home.”

Los Alamos Historical Society Executive Director Heather McClanahan told the group gathered Tuesday that the Hans Bethe House was originally built in 1931 for the business manager of the Los Alamos Ranch School, Fred Rousseau.

The cottage also was the home for Nobel Prize-winning chemist Edwin McMillan and his wife Elsie during the war years. Nobel Prize-winning physicist Hans Bethe and his wife Rose occupied the home in 1945. Max Roy, head of the explosives division of the Laboratory as of 1946, lived there longer than anyone, until his death in 1992.

“Several months after an extensive renovation was completed on the home in 2012, the pipes froze and burst, causing widespread damage throughout the house,” she said.  

The home required new flooring, plastering, wiring, plumbing and painting, as well as other work to make it publicly accessible. This was completed thanks to the generous donation of Clay and Dorothy Perkins, who purchased the home and paid to fix it.

The Perkins sold the home to the Los Alamos Historical Society for $10. Now with repairs complete and the final sleepover put to bed, the next step is to fill the rooms with exhibits and open the house to the public.

“When people come into the house they will see 1950s -1960s style furnishings in the living room,” McClanahan said. “The exhibits here will tell the stories of the role Los Alamos played in the Cold War.”

McClanahan explained that it’s expensive to maintain and preserve the historic properties that the Historical Society now cares for such as the Bethe House. She said the organization’s capital campaign is underway to raise $7 million and encouraged those gathered Tuesday as well as the greater community to contribute what they can to help preserve the legacy of Los Alamos. For more information, visit www.losalamoshistory.org.

 

From left, Bob McClenahan, Heather McClenahan, Cinday Eaton and Sharon Stover. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

From left, Anne Hayes, Maridell Nochumson, Cindy Eaton, Aleene Jenkins and Lisa Wismer. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

Bob Carlos and Kathy Boerigter. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

From left, Stephen Boerigter, Steven Girrens, John Arrowsmith and Pat Soran. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

Kathy Boerigter, left, and Lisa Wismer. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

Mike Wismer and Heather McClenahan. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

Sharon Stover, left, and Lisa Wismer. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

From left, Don Siebe, Robert Cunningham and Don Casperson. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

From left, Lana Schulte, Kathy Hirons and Mary and Paul Cunningham. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

Lorraine Hartway, Paul Cunningham and Joe Scherrer. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

From left, John Arrowsmith, Pat Soran and Morrie Pongratz. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

Sharon Stover, Lana Shulte, Stephan Boerigter, Steven Girrens, McClenahan Bob and Cheryl Pongratz. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

Kathy Hirons, left, and Aleene Jenkins. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

Lorraine Hartway, left, and Mary Arrowsmith. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

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