AFTERBURN REPORT 2006
Nevada Properties/Black Rock Station Work Ranch
Black Rock Station continues to evolve into a first-rate facility. This year the ranch hosted numerous work weekends for a wide range of projects - from making street signs to repurposing containers into portable office space. The improved welding shop turned out many art cars and projects in addition to repairing the burn barrels and platforms as needed.
The new auto shop continues to be filled with vehicles undergoing one repair or another. Burning Man's fleet includes everything from little front-wheel drive "roller scates" to 24-foot flatbeds and a semi tractor used to haul those big trailers you see on the playa. These vehicles are used heavily for a few months of the year and spend the rest of the year fighting off the elements from sub-zero cold to triple-digit heat, not to mention the occasional critter that moves in and eats the wiring or seats.
The Nevada Properties include the Gerlach Office, Helen's House, Black Rock Social Club and the Gerlach Showers properties. The Gerlach Office is staffed year round, though only part-time in the winter months. Many visitors stop by the office throughout the year to see the local nerve center of Burning Man. During the weeks prior to the event, a full-time staff handles everything from frantic phone calls about missing friends to searching out last-minute building and operation needs for Black Rock City.
At one time, the Gerlach Office was the post office, store, and headquarters of Gerlach’s water and power company. A small building out back held the town’s generator; and Helen, who ran the whole thing, lived in the house next to the water tower. Times have changed – including painting, office buildout, and adding heat for the winter – but the water tower is still there, and people still stop by year round to talk about Burning Man and the Black Rock Desert.
Next door to the office is the old town jail. The building is largely unchanged from its days as a jail but is now used by the Friends of Black Rock / High Rock. The front room hosts a small museum displaying artifacts from the early Burning Man years and earlier, when the military used the Black Rock Desert for target and bombing practice. The artifacts are on loan from various private and public collections.
Following a two-year upgrade, the Black Rock Social Club (BRSC) continues to welcome and provide space for a work-weary crew to relax, use the computer, do laundry, or catch a movie. With a growing video library and the addition of a big screen television, the TV room was a popular place to hang after working all day in the hot sun. The crew took full advantage of the wireless internet and computer stations in the game room, which were always occupied by members staying up on email, posting blogs, or searching for deals on eBay.
With the ability to download and send photos on a daily basis, we were able to keep people all over the world informed of our day-to-day progress building the city. The BRSC also hosts a year-end talent night. While I could go into detail, I’ll just recommend (if you’re interested) that you fill out our questionnaire to see if working for the DPW might be right for you.
The Gerlach Showers property once again proved to be a valuable resource for the ability to stage equipment, trailers, and crew during the shuttle to the playa. Often a vendor will bring in three or four trailers but only one delivery truck. Staging these trailers at the showers allows us to work with our vendors to stay on schedule while giving the drivers a needed break.
The showers have a beautiful view of the playa, and their location right on the edge of town makes them a true jewel of a property. While we have many ideas for the property, we do not have plans for changes in the near future.
David Pedroli, Nevada Properties Manager
Sherry Carter, Gerlach Office Manager