Nevada Properties/Black Rock Station Work Ranch

As any property owner will tell you – the maintenance just never ends.

Over the winter, spring and summer of 2010 the various Nevada Properties owned by Burning Man underwent a number of improvements. Starting in January, first on the list was the old “Alan Theater Building”. Originally constructed sometime in the late 1940’s this building has sat empty and decaying on Gerlach’s Main Street next door to Bruno’s for over a decade and has been an expressed eyesore to the locals of this town for a very long time. The face of this building was thus stripped away and fully re-constructed with a new western facade much to the approval and pleasure of the town.

Next on the project list was “The Black Rock Saloon” which received a major electrical re-wiring job. The exposed wiring running cris-cross every which way in the attic of that building was as old as the building itself, it was torn out and replaced with “enclosed wiring”, junction boxes and fixtures throughout the facility. An interior paint job for many of the rooms and floors was also applied and a new walkway and dog pen was then constructed at the west side of the building.

The Parking Lot on the bend of Main Street next to the Saloon was also expanded this past winter and in the process of doing so, the expansion team hit water less than eight inches below the surface. To suppress the rising water levels they built up the area with truck loads of gravel and dirt. Elders of the town were not surprised by the flooding as they recalled their childhood memories of that entire part of town as being a swamp back in the 1930s before the now present buildings were constructed.

The Gerlach Office also sits above an ever-present water source which has always been a problem. The basement of that structure has always had up to a foot of standing water which had thus rotted out the floor of the building and created a constant stench inside the office. In the early spring, a team started tearing out the floor and filling in the basement with four feet of fill and then set to reconstruct the floor anew. The stench is now gone and the water subdued, gone altogether. But why stop there… the team then tore down the old decaying front porch of the property and reconstructed a completely new one. This is the 3rd porch for that building, according to a few surviving locals.

Black Rock Station (aka the Ranch) had been at maximum capacity pushing overflow for years. Finally just before the 2010 event, an expansion team broke ground and expanded the storage yard creating a whole new storage area and just a bit of breathing space for future production works. This much-needed, long-overdue yard expansion marks the end of a seven-year era of reconstruction and organization at the Ranch and the beginning of “a new era” that will now allow for more focus on independent energy, sustainability, and ecologically responsible operations at the Ranch as Burning Man goes forward into the future.

Submitted by,
Quinn Yarbrough