posted on May, 4 2007 @ 12:38 PM
On 20 June 1958, 38,400 acres of land encompassing the Watertown base at Groom Lake was officially withdrawn from public access under Public Land
Order 1662. This rectangular addition to the Nevada Test Site was designated “Area 51.”
On 17 November 1959, an Atomic Energy Commission spokesman announced to the news media: “Sheet metal workers needed at the Groom Lake Project 51 in
the Nevada Test Site are constructing a butler-type building.” The spokesman said that the building would be used to “house data reduction
equipment for use by Edgerton, Germeshausen, and Grier in an Air Force program.” This was the EG&G RCS measurement facility that was first used to
evaluate Lockheed's A-12 design. Some documents and articles use the terms "Project 51" and "Area 51" interchangeably.
A subsequent article in the Las Vegas Review Journal noted that Groom Lake “is ideally suited to secret projects because experimental aircraft can
take off and land without detection from any outside point.” This, of course, proved in error,and was noted by the CIA Inspector General during a
visit in 1961.
On 15 January 1960, the N.T.S. Bulletin, an unclassified newsletter for Test Site workers published Area 51 telephone numbers on the front page. The
announcement included contact numbers for the Base Commander’s Office, Security Office, and Reynolds Electrical and Engineering Company (REECo).
The base was built up over the next several years in support of Project OXCART, development of the A-12. The Area 51 softball team was called the
8-Ballers. The BULLETIN BOARD, an unclassified newsletter published by REECo for NTS employees regularly posted articles about Test Site sporting
events. Throughout the 1960s, headlines such as “Area 51 Wins Slow-Pitch Tournament” were common and many of the players were listed by name.
During the 1960s and earlyt 1970s, security gurards at the site wore metal badges with the wirds AREA 51 SECURITY FORCE. They came in two sizes.
These may be the only items from Groom Lake, other than documents, to bear the term "Area 51."
Over the years, Area 51 has appeared on numerous unclassified maps and documents. Some of these have been produced for internal use and others for the
general public and news media.
An unclassified NTS road map, produced by Holmes & Narver, Inc., was updated in January 1961 to include mileage between various points. One notation
read: “10.3 MILES TO AREA 51” and was followed by the words “GROOM LAKE.”
Another map of the Nevada Test site, produced in December 1967 by REECo, shows the western edge of Area 51. The Area number is clearly marked and
man-made features are shown in detail. The airfield and the dry lakebed, unfortunately, fall outside the edge of the map.
In 1969, the University of California Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory published a report on Archeological Investigations at the U.S. Atomic Energy
Commission’s Nevada Test Site and Nuclear Rocket Development Station. It included two maps of the Test Site. One of these included the western edge
of Area 51, clearly labeled, with an arrow pointing toward Groom Lake.
Throughout the 1970s, the Atomic Energy Commission (later, Department of Energy) handed out maps of the NTS with public relations brochures and press
releases. These maps showed how the Test Site was divided into numbered areas and included details of all the major facilities. The western half of
Area 51 and west edge of Groom Lake were included, both clearly labeled. The main base and runways were just outside the edge of the map.
In March 1977, the U.S. Geological Survey published a report on Lithologic Logs of Selected Exploratory and Emplacement Drill Holes in Areas 2 and 8,
Nevada Test Site. The unclassified report included an Index Map of the NTS. Area 51 was shown in its entirety, but without internal details.
A large, undated map of the Test Site fails to include the Area 51 boundary. There is, however, a road heading northeast that is labeled “Groom Lake
By September 1978, Area 51 had disappeared from maps of the NTS produced by the Department of Energy (DoE). The maps were nearly identical to earlier
editions, but with updated information. Although the western edge of Groom Lake was still visible and labeled, the boundary of Area 51 and its number
had been removed.
[edit on 6-5-2007 by Shadowhawk]