large hangars in the foreground are hangars 4-7 (building #200, 202, 206 and 208), which were used for the A-12 and YF-12 development. Later they were used for "foreign technology" items, such as fully operational MiG fighter jets, and became known as "Red Hat Hangars". Behind them are the U-2 hangars, the oldest hangars of the base, followed by a group of administration and operations buildings.
The large building on the left is the Base Supply and Administration Building (building #265). Next to it is the Dining Hall (building #267) and the Base Headquarters (#269). On the far right is the recreation complex, including the building that later became known as "Sam's Place" (building #170), a gym and swimming pool. Behind it, partly out of the frame, is the baseball field.
In the background are the old living quarters, which have since been replaced by more modern and more comfortable quarters. The runway is out of the frame to the left.
New Tall Structure at Area 51, January 2006
A new tower structure was built near the RCS range at the north end of Area 51. The shadow of the structure can first be seen on a satellite image taken on January 17, 2006. The tower is not present in a September 28, 2005 photo. So we know that it was built between Sept. 28, 2005 and January 17, 2006. It appears to be a permanent structure, with no visible change between January 2006 and June 2007, when this photo was taken.
The new tower is about 180 ft. tall, with a triangular cross-section (visible on new satellite images). It is too tall and too solid for a drill rig. It is located at approximately N 37° 14.782' and W 115° 49.396', west of the sump ponds. This location is near the DYCOMMS and Quick Kill radar sites at the south end of Groom Lake. It may hold a new radar array for RCS tests or other radar measurements.
The tower has line-of-sight to a newly expanded remote facility near N37° 14' 32" and W115° 53' 24". That facility in turn has several tall poles, although not as solid. The remote facility was expanded around the same time our tower was built, so there may be a connection.
The structure looks somewhat similar to the ICECAP tower at the Nevada Test Site, without the siding. See this LVRJ article from December 2000 for more information and some photos. Because of the proximity to the NTS, and the fact that the towers there are no longer used, it may be a re-used tower originally designed for underground nuclear tests. But re-used for what?...
There are also a couple of new structures and tall light poles at the south end of the scraped area in the back. On new satellite photos it looks like a shooting range, located at N 37° 14.6'