Southbase is an extreme environment, physically, culturally, and historically. If Wendover is a town “On the Edge,” then Southbase is that edge’s margin. Southbase is at the end of a peninsula of imported gravel, surrounded by a sea of mudflats, a mile south of the Wendover airport. It was the former ordnance compound for the WWII base, and is accessed through a locked gate, controlled by the county and the Air Force. On site are several buildings, two of which are leased to the CLUI. One is a large workshop and storage building, the other is a Quonset hut that has been converted into the “Clean Livin’” facility by the build/design group Simparch, for use in the Center's Wendover Residence Program.
Other structures at Southbase include former munition bunkers, used for storage by the area’s casinos, and three small WWII buildings used by the police for training and by the military, which occasionally encamps at Southbase for a few weeks to engage in training operations. There is also a control tower, built by the Walt Disney company as a prop for the 1996 movie Con Air.
The site has been cleared of unexploded ordnance, and has been certified as being free of hazardous substances by federal agencies. (The area outside the perimeter fence has not, and should be avoided.) Southbase is just outside the active Wendover Bombing Range, though no bombing is conducted on this part of the range anymore.
This is where some of the development for the final assembly of the non-nuclear components of the Little Boy bomb was performed, prior to the weapon’s deployment at Hiroshima. Some of the buildings were removed after the war and taken to Los Alamos to continue to be used for weapons work.
Access to Southbase is limited to participants in the Wendover Residence Program, or other permitted users/tenants. Visits may also be possible by contacting the Wendover Airport.