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Mike Davis - Berlin's Skeleton in Utah's Closet

Mike Davis - Berlin's Skeleton in Utah's Closet

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Jean SteinBen Sonnenberg
Berlin's Skeleton in Utah's ClosetAuthor(s): Mike DavisSource:
Grand Street,
No. 69, Berlin (Summer, 1999), pp. 92-100Published by: Ben SonnenbergStable URL:
Accessed: 25/12/2009 16:43
Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use, available athttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp. JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unlessyou have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and youmay use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use.Please contact the publisher regarding any further use of this work. Publisher contact information may be obtained athttp://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=bsonn.Each copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printedpage of such transmission.JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.
 Jean Stein
 Ben Sonnenberg
are collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to
Grand Street.
BERLIN'S MOST FAR-FLUNG,secretand orphan
suburbsits in the saltbushdesert aboutninetymiles
southwest of Salt LakeCity."German Village, " as it
is officially labeledon declassifiedmaps of theU.S. Army'sDugwayProvingGround,is the remnant famuch larger,German-Japanese omposite "doomtown"onstructedbyStandardOil in I943.Dugway
playedacrucial role in the New Deal's last great
publicworks project:the incinerationfcities ineasternGermanyand Japan.
Twoyears ago,theArmy allowedmeto tour
GermanVillage brieflywith a dozenof my studentsfromtheSouthernCalifornia Institute fArchitecture.Dugway isslighdybigger thanRhodeIslandandmore toxically ontaminatedthan theNuclearTestSiteinnearbyNevada.Asthedevil'sownlaboratoryorthreegenerationsof U.S.chemical,incendiary,ndbiologicalweapons,ithasalwaysbeenshroudedinofficialsecrecyandColdWarmyth.A recent threatfbase restructuring,
Sincenapalm, botulismandbinarynervegasare not
conventionaltouristattractions,theProvingGround insteadadvertisestspreservationfanoriginalsectionoftheLincolnHighway.Mostvisitorsarepioneeringmotorists whocome toadmire thedecrepit,one-lane bridgethatcrosses
a swampy patch in Baker Area, not far from
thecontroversial io-warfare abwhere theArmy tinkers ith andromeda trains,guardedby adouble perimeter frazorwire. GermanVillageis
adozen or somilesfurther west,ina sprawling
mazeofmysterious test sites and targetareas thatDugway's commander is reluctant o includeonthevisitor itinerary.erelented nlywhen weconvincedhispress officethattheVillage hadanimportant estheticaura thatmight enhance"baseheritage":twasdesigned byone ofModernism's gods,theGerman-JewishrchitectEricMendelsohn.BurningBerlin's RedDistrictsIn I943, theChemicalWarfareCorpssecretlyrecruited endelsohn toworkwith StandardOil engineers tocreateaminiatureHohenzollem slum intheUtahdesert.Nothingintheappearance fthesurvivingtructure-a doubletenementblockknownasBuilding8ioo-identifiesitastheproductofthe samehand thatdesigned suchlandmarks fWeimarBerlinastheofficesoftheBerlinerageblatt,heColumbushaus,theSternefeldvillainCharlottenburg,rtheWoga ComplexontheKurfiirstendamm.bsolute"typicality"n all

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