The secret military installation that we call Area 51 is known by many names, such as Groom Lake, Watertown Strip, Paradise Ranch, and Dreamland. And while the US government refuses to acknowledge any of these names, they have admitted to an Air Force operating location near Groom Lake.
During World War II, the Groom Lake area was used as a bombing and gunnery range for the US Air Force. In the early 1950’s, Lockheed’s Clarence “Kelly” Johnson had begun work on a high-altitude spy plane, later called the U2. They needed a place to test the new plane, and on August 1, 1955, Groom Lake’s dry lake bed served as the premium location. In fact, Ben Rich in his book about the Skunk Work’s team wrote how it was Kelly Johnson who “had jokingly nicknamed this Godforsaken place Paradise Ranch, hoping to lure young and innocent flight crews.”
Later this installation was used to test the SR-71 Blackbird, Have Blue, and F-117. Not much has been declassified about these programs, and no one knows for sure what’s going on inside the base today.
Since its inception in 1955, the base has grown dramatically, and continues to grow each year. Today, it is home to world’s largest runway, and is capable of housing a large, unknown number of people.
The Base Today
Observers have estimated that thousands of people are flown in from Las Vegas daily, to keep the base operational. The Defense contractor EG&G operates a private terminal in Las Vegas, and it has been reported using several different aircraft, including six different Boeing 737s using the “JANET” call sign, and “N” numbers registered to the United States Air Force.
Other employees arrive at the base via a mysterious white bus, which makes stops at Ash Spring, Crystal Springs, and Alamo—where it parks at the courthouse every night. The bus arrives at the base every morning around 8:30, and passes through the warning signs at Area 51′s front gates. The bus then makes its first security check at the guard shack, only a mile from the warning signs, and then continues to Groom Lake, almost seven miles past the Guard Shack.
The closest access that anyone without permission can get to Area 51 are the warning signs at the front gates. These gates are kept under close surveillance using road sensors, cameras, and the careful watch of the Area 51 border security, known as the “cammo dudes.” All surveillance and communication is channeled through the security facility on Bald Mountain–it has even been suggested that this base contains long-range cameras that can track all vehicle traffic on highway 375.
The closest legal place to view Area 51 is from the top of Tikaboo Peak, a mountain over 26 miles from the base. In the past the base was more easily seen from places like Freedom Ridge and Whitesides–but these locations were annexed by the US Government in 1999.
Today many people visit the land surrounding Area 51, and it has become a popular place for aircraft and UFO enthusiasts alike. While no one knows for sure what happens at Groom Lake, the Government can be sure that websites like visitAREA51.com, LazyGRanch.com, and Dreamlandresort.com–as well as people like you–will be diligent in keeping a close eye.