Area 51 goes by many names. It is also known as the Homey Airport, Groom Lake, Dreamland, Paradise Ranch, Home Base and Watertown. But among its many nicknames, Area 51 is the most mysterious. Up to this day, no one really knows why the place was named as such.
The Origin of the Name Area 51 Vegas
There are plenty of theories about the origin of the name Area 51 but the most accepted one claims that it originated from a grid numbering system of the area by the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC).
Apparently, Area 51 is adjacent the Nevada Test Site (NTS), AEC’s testing ground for nuclear bombs. To classify the grid squares they use, the AEC numbered each “area” from 1 to 30. Obviously, Area 51 is not a part of the system but it does border Area 15. See what they did there? 15 and 51?
Another explanation says that the number 51 was chosen by the AEC to show that the area will not be used by the commission in case they make any expansions in the future.
A Brief History of Groom Lake
In 1864, a large deposit of lead and silver were discovered in the southern part of the mountain range where the NTS and Area 51 are now located. Seeing the opportunity, the English company Groome Lead Mines Limited financed the Conception Mines which operated in the mountain range during the 1870s. Because of this, the mining district was given the name Groom Range.
In 1876, the interests of the company was acquired and patented by J.B. Osborne and his partners. Osborne’s son later acquired the interests in the 1890s. Claims were incorporated forming two companies in 1916 and mining prospered until 1918. It stopped during the World War II and resumed after the war ended in the early 1950s.
During the war, the area surrounding Groom Lake was used as an airfield. In 1942, it was called the Indian Springs Air Force Auxiliary Field and consisted of two 5000 feet runways made of dirt. The airfield was largely used for bombing and artillery practice and bomb craters are still visible up to this day.
In 1955, the CIA established another facility in the area for Project Aquatone which involved the development of the reconnaissance aircraft Lockheed U-2. The government chose the location as the lake bed made an ideal strip from which they could test the aircraft. Additionally, the Emigrant Valley’s mountain ranges and NTS kept the project safe from prying eyes. According to another theory, the CIA requested the AEC to acquire the land. They named the location as Area 51 on the map and added it to the NTS system.
Today, Area 51 is one of the most mysterious places in the US. The government’s classified aircraft research plus the numerous reports of alien sightings have all contributed to its secretive nature. If you are interested to uncover the mystery surrounding the controversial attraction, join us for an Area 51 tour.