From the Santa Fe New Mexican-July 1, 1973:
White Rock: Resurrection City Ghost towns proliferate in the southwest, but who ever heard of one that gathered up its shroud and recycled itself into a model city? White Rock did! The new White Rock is a city of 9,000 people, with not a slum or ghetto area in sight. It is all new, and might well serve as a specimen sample for slick magazines. Homes are not cut from cookie cutter master plans, but express the individuality of tastes and needs. They share well manicured lawns, shrubbery and trees, winding paved streets, and a business section that refuses to be stereotyped, yet is completely efficient and more than attractive. Walk though "The Village", a multimillion dollar business center being developed by Andy Long with diminutive dynamo Peggy Corbett as his good right hand. The buildings are mission stone with shake shingle roofing. Grouped with open areas, minus gaudy, glaring signs, the center has trees, redwood planters, hanging flower planters, shaded portals, even a small coral adjacent to a western wear and tack shop. The professional plaza is already in use. There is a fabric shop with a children's play center, a "findings" department with jars of hard candy to help patrons make up their mind on which pattern to use and a sewing training center. Customers often bring in their creations for others to see how a fabric or pattern looks made up. An ice cream "saloon", barber shop, shoe shop, beauty parlor are already thriving, and plans call for a supermarket, gift shop, apartment houses, etc. in the complex. Play centers for children, parks and tennis courts are scattered throughout the town, and the view in any direction is superb by courtesy of nature. Schools, churches, fire and police departments are all excellent. White Rock is a suburb of Los Alamos, now connected by a high bridge over the narrow, deep canyon that separates the two cities.
In 1962, the first homes of the second White Rock were occupied and today it continues to grow. It is small enough to be friendly and large enough to care for its people realistically. It is really a dream town. When Los Alamos was chosen as the site for the secret Manhattan project, the laboratories developed around Fuller Lodge and Ashley Pond. It was the secret city, the gate opened only to those with the even for laboratory personnel. Contractors were loathe to even bid if it meant transporting their workers from Santa Fe or Espanola. Nearby was a stretch of flat land bordering on the gorge of the Rio Grande. Here a prefab town was built at a cost of $4,500,000 for construction workers. Streets were laid out, water, electricity, sewer lines were all installed and White Kid-size water fountains in "The Village." As it grew, officials decided that the main laboratories needed to be moved out of the prefab housing into a permanent location. This was in 1949. Construction people had to have somewhere to live, and certainly Los Alamos facilities were inadequate, White Rock was born. AEC put in 411 homes, 197 trailer spaces, 21 dormitories, an elementary school, food market, barber and beauty shops, drug store, a clothing store, doctor and dentist offices, a service station, police and fire departments. In short order it was a town of 2,000 people. An interesting sidelight surfaces in that the drug store had a liquor license, verboten in Los Alamos. They would and did deliver to the Atomic City. When the new laboratory buildings were completed, construction workers speedily moved out. White Rock rapidly became a ghost town, while the barracks type buildings were sold.
Some of these buildings can still be seen scattered around the nearby countryside including Espanola. A few Los Alamoites, AEC, LASL and Zia employees, living at White Rock until quarters could be built in Los Alamos, moved into the hill city as rapidly as possible. Gov. Edwin L. Mecherti cut the ribbon across the road into Los Alamos on Feb. 2, 1957 to open the secret city. New Mexicans, enroute to Bandelier, sometimes paused and rambled around the White Rock site and not knowing why it was built to begin with, readily believed the story that Los Alamos people simply didn't want to live in White Rock. Housing problems in Los Alamos proliferated. Barranca was the first "suburb" of privately owned homes to be built. Robert Y. Porton, PR Director, recalls that pessimists preached doom for that housing area, and even more so when, in 1959, White Rock was suggested as a development site. The government was withdrawing completely as landlord, contractor and head of various factors that go to make up a city. Housing for workers remained a problem, and bids were opened with E.I. Noxon Construction Company of Los Angeles being awarded the contract to develop the first 250 acres by AEC in 1961. The old White Rock facilities—water, sewage disposal, lights, etc. had not only deteriorated during the "ghost town" period, but were simply inadequate for the new project. They were replaced, Roger and Peggy Corbett bought, and still occupy, one of the first houses in the new White Rock. They now have lots of happy, contented neighbors.