Old and, well, older looks at Old Pole

where is the snow?
This is the original plan for the station, as adapted from the drawings in the back of RADM Dufek's book Operation Deep Freeze. (This version is courtesy of Scott Smith, the intrepid Pole plumbing foreman and philatelist.) Due to the vagaries of airdrop and the foresight of Dick Bowers, Jack Tuck, and Paul Siple, the place actually turned out much nicer...



The graphic layout below by Hervey Garrett Smith (© 1957, National Geographic Society) shows how it actually happened...a version of this was published in Paul Siple's book 90 South with the pages reversed, and it also appeared in the July 1957 National Geographic magazine. This view is looking southeast.



those tunnels

drop zone The aerial view of the station (left, U. S. Navy photo) was taken during the 1957-58 summer (full sized view); the top of the image is approximately northwest,home away from home with the station at the top. The seismo tunnel is the straight line extending east from the balloon inflation building. What is seen below the station is all the tractor trails from chasing down airdrop cargo. The circle at the bottom is the 1957 folks' determination of where the pole was. This location would change over the next few years as different observers had different ideas--based on current data the actual location was north and west from what is seen here. The butterfly-shaped track marks near the circle of 55-gallon drums marks excavation work where a 7-ton D-2 tractor streamed in early in the summer; the parachute lines became cut during airdrop and it buried itself 30 feet down. I've seen the radar image of the D-2 on radar from the flight deck of a landing LC-130, and I'm sure some of the debris seen here is buried there, waiting for the IceCube group to find...

The photo at right above (full size) was taken around the same time by photographer Marion Beebe, only the 39th person to reach the Pole (photo from The White Desert by Noel Barber; © 1958 by Noel Barber...Noel covered the Hillary-Fuchs Trans-Antarctic Expedition and was another of the first few media people to reach Pole).
from the fabulous fifties

This map (right) from Sid Tolchin, 1959 OIC, shows how the station actually turned out. Since all of the Antarctic stations were originally designed for only a limited lifetime during the IGY period, 1959 was scheduled to be the year everyone went home by March. After the decision was made to make the ice presence permanent, the first effort to do additional construction had to be made at Byrd which was rapidly becoming crushed by the snow load.


not much left

The map at left shows the station as of March 1962--it was drawn to show the location of the garage that burned down in October 1964, so grid north is to the left. Since the Jamesway between the original garage and the science building is gone (and has not been replaced yet) the future Club 90 building is still being used for berthing. The grid squares are approximately 200 feet on a side (Bulletin of the U. S. Antarctic Projects Officer, December 1964).
time for the landscaping crew

At right is a January 1964 aerial view from partway up the new forward scatter antenna tower. This view looks northeast; at left is the dug out area next to the galley where the steel rigid frame roofing is being installed; to the right of the two Jamesways is the end of the newly constructed #2 fuel cache. The dark square structure in the center background is the cosray building, also new this year (photo by aurora w/o Henn Oona, from the Bulletin of the U. S. Antarctic Projects Officer, Summer 1964).

Below, an aerial photo taken around the same time (7 Februrary 1964) looks west, here more of the exavations
can be seen, including the new corrugated steel seismo tunnel (U. S. Navy photo courtesy Mike Davis).
tunnel time



full bladdershome sweet dome?

The above two 1965 photos were taken by Steve Kauffman from the forward scatter antenna. The view at left looks toward the skiway with the GCA radome in the center, the orange TACAN behind it, and the GCA control module in front behind the antenna shadows. In the background are some of the bladders used to receive DFA before it is pumped to the fuel caches. The right view shows the main part of the station. The builders' tunnel arch is visible; behind it is the aurora tower and the balloon inflation tower. Cosray is in the background.



a few items left in the snow



The photo at right was one of a series taken for NSF on 15 February 1965. This view is looking almost north, the station is near the top of the picture, and in the background the skiway angles up to the right with several runway markers visible (remember the original skiway is on the west side of this station). The forward scatter antenna (from where the above color photos were taken) is barely visible just to the left of center; to its right is the GMD dome (large dark structure) and to the right the white rectangle is BIT. The area inside the graded loop in the lower right appears to be the geographic pole--this location is somewhere near the present MAPO. This means that the lower 3/4 of the area you see here will be explored in depth as it were by the IceCube drillers over the next few years...fortunately any of the stuff that may still be there is fairly shallow so that it would be found by the shallow firn drill and not the big guy.

Yes, there is an extra large version of this photo here...







big town


The U. S. Navy site plan at left is from the 1966-67 season--quite well indexed and large enough to show some of the outlying facilities. This drawing is from Support for Science Antarctica, by the History and Research Division, U. S. Naval Support Force, Antarctica; fourth edition printed February, 1968.

Of course things show up much better in the full size view.



sleep here

The map at right is also from 1967, it is contained in a one of a volume of papers by the "sleep" studies folks... Shurley, Jay T., Physiological Research at U. S. Stations in Antarctica, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center; published in Human Adaptability to Antarctic Conditions, American Geophysical Union Antarctic Research Series Vol. 22; Gunderson, E. K., ed., 1974.
Paul Siple slept here

The other side of the tracks....er...skiway as we found it in 1976. This is a fairly accurate look at Old Pole as it was when it was turned off in February 1975. I've attempted to restore some of the damages done to this by our infamous copy machine. And we made many copies of this, which was informally called the tourist map, since this historic place was still open to visitors. The grid north arrow is 10 to the right of vertical. The front door of the dome is about 3/4 mile southeast of here.

old pole

This is an unusual low aerial view of the old station from 1976-77. The camera is north of the station (looking "down from the top" of the above site plan), with the lens pointed at about grid 205. The "NCEL Jamesway" in the foreground housed the original experimental Rodriguez (potable water) well which operated for awhile in 1972-3. The main part of the buried station runs from the lower left up diagonally toward the middle right. The science building and its aurora tower (skylab) are off camera to the left. Looking straight back from the NCEL Jamesway are the stacks of the power plant, the garage, and another Jamesway used as a temporary garage. At least that is what I see from here.

heavy stuffAt left is another aerial view; this one I cannot identify, but I'm guessing the wood structure is one of the gravity vaults located along the seismo tunnel.

I suspect these pictures were taken using a long lens which has distorted everything. I'm open to corrections. These are copies of copies of..uh, I really have no idea where the original slides came from. We had an antenna crew around for awhile, salvaging some of the old towers. They may have taken pictures, or these may have been taken from an aircraft.


still frozen in time

Here is a more recent computerized map of the place prepared by one of the w/o's a few years ago...



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