History of the Armory

The Armory

In October of '88, my apartment-mate Dierdre (siona) and I began to tire of apartment life. Our two-bedroom apartment was unsuited to hosting social events. The essentially nonexistent visitor parking made things especially difficult. Also, it was at the Swan Lake Apartments on the east side of Santa Cruz, which meant that the commute to UCSC was long enough to be annoying. So, we began looking for a house to rent. We put our quest off after realizing that October was a bad time to go house-hunting, since it's the month that the UCSC academic year starts.

We started looking again around the end of the year, and eventually came across a house that suited us. It was ideally situated near the base of the UCSC campus on McMillan Drive. McMillan is one of the side-streets of Nobel Drive that are named after Nobel laureates; in this case Edwin McMillan, a Manhattan Project scientist who was recommended to be director of Los Alamos (a post eventually given to Oppenheimer), and one of the four scientists who first synthesized plutonium.

The house had all of our requirements - a large yard, garage, fireplace, etc. And it had a master bedroom that was big enough to include my electronics workshop. We determined that to afford the rent we'd need three more housemates. We eventually found them: Mike, ex-crnivor of ucscb infamy; Penguin (penguin), and Elizabeth (ex-mischif). We moved in on January 15 1989.

A geek house in Santa Cruz must have a name. I spent some time searching for a name for the house without coming up with anything I really liked (The Powder Works, etc.) before mentioning my quest to Rob Rebbe (boborob). Knowing my pyrotechnic bent, in short order he came up with the name The Armory, which I immediately knew was the only name the place could have. It has since also become the name of our domain (armory.com), used by our house machines and by some of the sites that hang off of our network.

The new house did prove much more amenable to hosting parties. But getting more phone lines into it was quite an ordeal.

All but Dierdre and myself left within the first eight months; she left after 18 months. A rapid succession of Armorites succeeded them, eventually stabilizing for about four years before giving way to flux again. The last of us moved moved out two weeks shy of 20 years after I moved in. There were a total of 40 Armorites. The Armory was the longest-existing geek house in Santa Cruz that we know of.

This web page maintained by John DuBois