I know, you were expecting 1789. Well, where’s the fun in that?
No, instead it’s time for a tip of the hat to the tinfoil hat crowd.
On July 14, 2003, the U.S. government admits the existence of the infamous “Area 51” for the first time.
Area 51 is a military base, and a remote detachment of Edwards Air Force Base. It is located in the southern portion of Nevada in the western United States, 83 miles (133 km) north-northwest of downtown Las Vegas. Situated at its center, on the southern shore of Groom Lake, is a large military airfield. The base's primary purpose is to support development and testing of experimental aircraft and weapons systems.
Though the name Area 51 is used in official CIA documentation, other names used for the facility include Dreamland, Paradise Ranch, Home Base, Watertown Strip, Groom Lake, and most recently Homey Airport. The area is part of the Nellis Military Operations Area, and the restricted airspace around the field is referred to as (R-4808N), known by the military pilots in the area as "The Box" or "the Container".
The intense secrecy surrounding the base, the very existence of which the U.S. government did not even acknowledge until July 14, 2003, has made it the frequent subject of conspiracy theories and a central component to unidentified flying object (UFO) folklore.
Groom Lake is the term that I’ve always heard from people that actually worked there.
In the last 20 years or so, a new runway has been added (that now appears to be unused), with a length of over 23,000 feet. That’s more than double the length necessary for a fully loaded 747 to land. Many have speculated that such a long runway might be needed for the (mythical?) Aurora project.
Interesting side note. Pay attention to the credits during the 1996 film, Independence Day, starring Will Smith. You’ll notice that it doesn’t have the typical “the producers would like to thank the U.S. Air Force for their help in this film”.
The Air Force did agree to provide quite a bit of help and assistance early on. But they read the initial script, and came back and told the producers that there was a problem.
Essentially they said, “this looks like a great movie and we’d love to help you. But first you have to remove all references to Area 51”. The producers said “no way” and the collaboration was over.
Second side note: if you’ve never seen the original bi-plane ending to Independence Day, you’re missing something. Looked for it on youtube. Couldn’t find it.