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The Sheahan Family: Area 51 Groom Mine

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The Sheahan Family: Area 51 Groom Mine

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The Historic Groom Mine & Residence has been owned an operated by us, the Sheahan family, since 1889. Rich in several precious metals including lead, silver and gold, we diligently mined the land, paving our way in Nevada mining history. In time, the Groom Mine became our foundation, livelihood and home. In the 1940s, the U.S. Government set their sights on southern Nevada as prime real estate for an aircraft testing facility. Slowly, the U.S. Government drove every mine in the vicinity out of the area- except for our family, who held and continues to hold six patented mining claims dating back to 1864 and 15 unpatented claims. After Congress passed the General Mining Act of 1872, President Ulysses S. Grant not only signed the White Lake and Conception Patents, but in writing, granted us the “exclusive right to enjoyment of all the lands within the boundaries, forever.” Due to the stature of such claims, our family was able to remain living on and continue mining our land. On June 23, 1954 at approximately 12 p.m., the heart and soul of our property, the mill, was bombed causing more than $1 million in damages. The destruction was devastating, as we watched decades of hard work, dedication and history burst into flames. The wreckage forced us to uproot our home, relocate and re-start our careers elsewhere. Less than a year later, the USAF acquired the land just north of the Groom property and established an Air Force Base, known today as Area 51. Since, we have been granted limited access to our property.

While we’ve had the ability to spend time visiting and repairing a land that holds invaluable history, we’ve faced many challenges in trying to work with the USAF and other government entities. Such challenges can be only described as criminal acts by our government including:

• The bombing of the Groom Mine mill site.

• Shooting of the Groom Mine campsite by airplanes.

• Holding family members at gunpoint on numerous occasions. Family members have experienced fear and mental anguish from this.

• Nuclear fallout and contamination from the aboveground nuclear tests. These tests caused radiation burns and sickness among some family members.

• Illegally seizing our access road in 1978.This road was held illegally by the Air Force for six years until the land withdraw was approved by Congress.

• Invasion of privacy at Groom Mine and constant monitoring of our activities.

• Illegally detaining family members.

• Threatened use of deadly force by security forces.

• Creating obstacles preventing the operation of Groom Mine, causing lost opportunities for business dealings.

• Complete denial of access to a land that, under the United States Constitution, we have every right to access.

• Illegal and periodic searches of our vehicles and persons prior to gaining access to our own property.

• Coerced signings of Inadvertent Disclosure Statements.

• Telling our prospective business partners that they would not be allowed to operate the mine and therefore no business deals have been possible.

• The constant threat of Condemnation, including telling Groom Mine owners that if we bring an outside company to run the mine, the Air Force will condemn the Groom Mine.

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