Friday, July 20, 2007

I want to go to Wendover

From the Center for Land Use Interpretation. (The writing her sounds a bit like Robert Smithson's. Go figure.):

"Wendover is the name of a small town on the edge of the mountains and the salt flats. It is located at the point where the Basin and Range of Nevada spill into the Great Salt Lake Desert of Utah. In appearance, it resembles the Arctic: a remote place of barren rock and snow-white alkali. Wendover was established because it was out of the way, a place where people wouldn't want to live. Though there was a small community to service the railroad established at Wendover early on, the first major modern settlement was an airbase, built at the beginning of World War II to train bomber crews (including the crew of the Enola Gay). Through the 1940's and 50's, the land around Wendover was bombed, strafed, and dusted with chemical and biological agents.

"Today, though the region is remote, it is intensely industrialized. Military operations continue in the 3 million surrounding acres of restricted-access lands. Large-scale industries remove salt, and process minerals from the flats, and copper and gold are extracted from giant pits in the mountains. Hazardous waste facilities and obsolete chemical weapons have found refuge in the remote, nearly uninhabitable landscape.

"In Wendover itself, an interstate highway passes through town, making Wendover a pit stop for travelers from San Francisco to New York City, and points in between. The town is bisected by the state line creating two distinct halves: The gambling boom town of Nevada's Wendover, and the stagnated Utah half, dominated by the cluttered remains of the Airbase, which was abandoned by the military in 1977.

It is at this former airbase where the Center for Land Use Interpretation has established the Wendover Residence Program and this segment of the American Land Museum.

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