Now we know what Area 51 was really for. It WAS a place for a UFO, for a while.
Area 51 is a touchstone of America’s cultural mythology . It rose to notoriety in 1989, when a Las Vegas man claimed he had worked at the secret facility to discover the secrets of crashed alien hardware, spawning two decades of conspiracy theories and speculation about little green men. But the facility’s history — and the history of the strange, secret aircraft that were developed there — extends back to 1955. Since its inception, the government has obliquely acknowledged its existence only a handful of times, and even the CIA’s 1996 declassified history of the OXCART program — the development of the SR-71 Blackbird at the secret site — refers only to tests conducted in “the Nevada desert.” The government has never publicly discussed the specific facility … until now.
On Thursday, the National Security Archive reported that it had gotten its hands on a newly declassified CIA history of the development of the U-2 spy plane. The report, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, contains the CIA’s secret record of how Area 51 came to be.
Here is info from the archive: The Secret History of the U-2.
Area 51/Groom Lake was needed to test the U2 plane. At first, the facility was called Paradise Ranch, or “the Ranch”. Testing of the spy plane commenced in July 1955 and, according to the this FP piece, UFO reports began immediately. So, the U2 was responsible for a huge UFO flap at this time. Huh, how about that. This is interesting reading and an important landmark in the history of UFO sightings. Explains a considerable amount.