Gerlach Office, “Helen’s House,” and Museum, 390 Main Street, Gerlach NV, purchased as a package in June 2000:
From the early 1930s thru the 1980s what is now the Gerlach office served as the town’s Post Office and General Store. The old dry-good bins and merchandise shelving are still present today. During the Burning Man event, this office is utilized by several departments, including the Black Rock Rangers, Community Services, Media, Business Services, DPW, Purchasing/Receiving, and Administration. The space gives Burning Man an official physical location for conducting all levels of business that are associated with an event of this caliber. It is a change from the days when the Burning Man office in Gerlach was a table, two chairs, and a pay phone at Bruno’s. We are currently doing some structural adjusting to the foundation to address the building’s sagging floor. Also in the works is a project to update some plumbing to fix problems with the ice machine. In the near future, a cast-iron pot-belly stove will be installed in the Nevada Properties office in the north-west part of the building. We are also in need of some curtains if anyone wants to make us any.
The history of this building is somewhat clouded with rumors claiming it is the “old jail house” to the “old power plant house.” Some folks claim they once lived there when it was The Oasis Bar, and Bub Williams’s cousin, Ed Barker, supposedly was born there in 1933. Though it was an active office for us in 2000 to 2001, it appears that it is destined to be a genuine and down-right dusty Burning Man/Gerlach Museum.
This single-family home is situated behind the Gerlach office and was occupied for many years by Gerlach’s Post Master and historian, Helen Thrasher. Although attempts have been made to change its name, the locals in Gerlach will always call it “Helen’s House.” During the event, this home provides additional office space, showers, and a space to prepare meals and dine for the Gerlach office team who live/work out here for up to 90 days per year. Currently, this home serves as a getaway spot where our winter caretakers can use the shower or laundry facilities once a week. Burning Man staff members and others often stay overnight there when visiting Gerlach during the winter months. This fall, three diseased trees were removed from the property, and the house itself was replumbed throughout.
Winter Office 330 Main Street, Gerlach, Nev.
Work shifts to this location each winter because of the difficulty presented in keeping the regular Gerlach office heated. The winter office is only two hundred square feet, as opposed to 3,000 square feet, and just one block away.
Also known as Frog Pond or the Bordello, this property located near Trego Hot Springs is where we obtain the 4 million gallons of water needed for dust abatement during the event each year. The last two years, we’ve cleaned up this property and secured it from vehicular traffic, while completing thousands of dollars worth of improvements. Our lease expires this year, and we will negotiate a new lease.
The Work Ranch a.k.a. “The 80 Acres,” 80 Jackson Lane, Hualapai Valley, Nev.
The year-to-year lease negotiated with a local rancher in 1997 turned into a 10-year lease in 1999. Located 12 miles north of the Black Rock Desert and the Burning Man festival site, this property originally served as a landing zone for all the stuff left on the playa after every event. In those days, we had no plan, no way of tracking the incoming stuff, and no labor budget to help accomplish any of these tasks. Hence, the years and years of stuff now amount to an unorganized tract of land. The property has for several years served well as an official work ranch for building and disassembling the infrastructure of the Burning Man event. We have seven years left on the current lease, during which we will completely remove and relocate operations to Black Rock Station just next door. This move will happen sooner than expected because Washoe County Community Development isn’t happy with some conditions on the property.
Black Rock Station 88 Jackson Lane, Hualapai Valley, Nev.
When we purchased this 200-acre parcel in February 2001, it was basically a junkyard with five dilapidated structures and tons of trash scattered all over. That following year, we constructed miles of roads, erected a 4,000-square-foot shop building, installed three power systems—one an alternative solar energy power plant—built a well house, and renovated the old farmhouse, which now serves as our high-tech office building. We have recently applied for four Special Use Permits that will allow us to continue operations during the building and removal of Black Rock City. These permits are issued by Washoe County Community Development, and obtaining them has proven to be a very complicated and costly process. In the end, we hope to have a tidy bathing facility with enclosed showers and toilets, a laundry facility, commissary, and housing for the DPW crew during August and September. We will also be including a separate artist shop area for those artists who construct their projects in Nevada. Much more work is planned for the future of this property, but currently the best use for Black Rock Station is in the construction and removal of Black Rock City, with high priority for a safe and sanitary environment.