South Pole History and Trivia Files

Quick index:


The original station was erected by that famous first Pole OAE Roald Amundsen. He and his men arrived in the general vicinity on 14 December 1911. After taking sun shots for 2 days to determine the exact location of the South Pole, they erected this tent at the most likely spot. Since the heat didn't work too well in this structure, Roald came up with that brilliant bit of wisdom still true today...he wisely decided not to wait for the second half of the double shuttle...(photo credit and more information about the tent).

While working at Pole in the late 1980's as the project engineer I spent some time going through the station management and O&M files to learn what had happened to the place since 1977, and what more needed to be done. At that time I originally published some of this information, in an effort to preserve some of this history for the new folks on station then. The 1987 trivia text file is virtually unchanged from that time, except that I've updated a few of the outdated references. The other files are extensively revised or new, but I've left all of the old quaint trivia alone because it is...old quaint trivia. This all is continuously under construction, so please let me know if I left anything out or got anything wrong...

I must remind you that I'm a construction engineer so my interest and focus here has been on the station facilities and infrastructure rather than the science, which is better documented by others...see the links elsewhere on this site. Enjoy!!!

Amundsen's original South Pole Station
IGY and the beginning...building the original station
South Pole Station, the first 10 years--timeline 1955-64
Pole grows and grows old...--timeline 1965-74
Building the Dome 1970-75
The Dome is home history 1975-90
Pole: the 90's...
2000-2010: New Millennium, New Station after the dome...
2020 and beyond...2020 hindsight?

Historical Features

Winterover Statistics

About those winterover crew lists and statistics

South Pole Facilities History 1975-90 (the old text file)
South Pole Trivia File February 1987

Credits and thanks

solar energy