About This Place
Los Alamos (Spanish: Los Álamos, meaning "The cottonwoods") is a townsite and census-designated place (CDP) in Los Alamos County, New Mexico, United States, built upon four mesas of the Pajarito Plateau and the adjoining White Rock Canyon. The population of the CDP was 11,909 at the 2000 census. The townsite or "the hill" is one part of town while White Rock is also part of the town. Technically, both are part of the same incorporated city/county. Los Alamos is home to the Los Alamos National Laboratory, which was founded to undertake the Manhattan Project. Los Alamos County is an incorporated county, and many county offices are located at the townsite of Los Alamos. Los Alamos High School is the public high school of Los Alamos County. Before the Manhattan Project, the site was occupied by the Los Alamos Ranch School. Los Alamos has a county council which the people elect to four-year terms. The county council is seven members with four or three persons elected every two years to the four-year terms. The council elects a chairman and vice-chairman.
Los Alamos is built on the Pajarito Plateau between White Rock Canyon and the Valles Caldera. The mesas that the townsite resides on were created by glacial erosion during the last ice age.
The first settlers on the plateau are thought to be Keres speaking Indians around the 10th Century AD. Around 1300 AD, Tewa settlers immigrated from the Four Corners Region and build large cities but were driven out within 50 years by Navajo and Apache raids and by drought. Both the Keres and Tewa towns can be seen today in the ruins of Bandelier National Monument and Tsankawi.