The Center for Land Use Interpretation Newsletter

Wendover Report

Simparch quonset at South Base, Wendover
Simparch quonset at South Base, with solar panels and water tower. CLUI photo
Deborah Stratman’s Radio Tower, Wendover
Deborah Stratman’s Radio Tower. CLUI photo
Students from the University of Texas and University of New Mexico visited Wendover for a week as part of their Land Arts of the American West field class.
Students from the University of Texas and University of New Mexico visited Wendover for a week as part of their Land Arts of the American West field class. CLUI photo

WENDOVER GETS AWFULLY COLD IN the winter, and most CLUI operations out here shut down until March. The public facilities, however, including the exhibit buildings and location-based projects continue to remain open to the public throughout the year.

Currently on display in the indoor exhibit spaces is an exhibit by architect Ted Kane, in Exhibit Hall 1, with large prints that examine the zonal flatness and linearity of the landscape in the area, and, in Exhibit Hall 2, an investigation and depiction of the state line, using sculpture, photography, and text, by Catherine Harris. Both are CLUI Wendover Residence Program participants.

A number of large-scale projects were completed over the last season, including a 40 foot tall radio tower, designed by Deborah Stratman, and built by her crew from Chicago. A sort of scanner/sampler for the invisible radio spectrum of the area, the tower has a kiosk at its base that enables visitors to listen to different radio frequencies in the region, such as aviation channels, fast food drive-thrus, casino security, and others. There is also a transmit function in the kiosk, with low powered FM and Citizens Band, so users can communicate with some of the thousands of truckers, residents, and transients in the area and on the Interstate.

The design/build team Simparch returned to Wendover for a few months this year, and completed the first phase of their South Base project. This involves the creation of a self-contained life-support facility out on the most extreme edge of the old airbase, which is possibly one of the most scenic and desolate places on earthan isolated, lifeless area established in WW2 for weapons storage, used for assembling test and training versions of the Fat Man and Little Boy bombs. It is now used for target practice and for police raid training exercises, as well as a movie location.

Out there, Simparch has converted an empty, damaged quonset hut into a functional, even livable base, which is available for others to use for future projects at South Base. Spending time at the facility allows people to interact with this environment in a more profound way, and to witness and participate in the unusual events that go on in this unseen edge of civilization.

Other developments include the construction of a garage to house the Landmark Cruiser, a GPS-equipped car that is programmed with information about the area around Wendover, and which dispenses information as it is driven. The project should completed and available for people to check out in the Summer of 2004. Planning is underway for an open house at CLUI Wendover for October, 2004.