When Mike and I first saw McMurdo Station we both thought it resembled an old Colorado mining town.  There a numerous barracks style buildings, piles of rocks, and large equipment laying around.  The station was opened by the U.S. Government in the 1950’s. I believe the navy and army were the primary operators back then.

McMurdo’s current overseer is the United States Antarctic Program (USAP).   The USAP is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).  The USAP is in charge of all U.S. funded research in Antarctica, not just here at McMurdo.  Most of the employees at McMurdo are employed by contractors.  Raytheon is the largest contractor at this time.

A map of McMurdo Station in the McMurdo Station Guide lists over 100 buildings in the area.  All the buildings are numbered.  I sleep in 207, work in 165 and eat in 155.

We have 3 gyms here (aerobics – Bldg 78,  basketball – Bldg 75, weights – 155).

3 clubs or bars (Southern Exposure – 107, Gallagher’s – 108,  Coffee House – 78)

We have a Chapel, Clinic, Post Office, Store, Galley, Power Plant, Water Plant, Waste Water Treatment Plant, and a Library.

There are numerous warehouses, storage buildings, and workshops.  McMurdo has a Fire Station, Helicopter Hanger, Barber Shop, Radio Station, and Weather Office. We have a taxi service and ATM’s.  Anyone can checkout musical instruments, recreation equipment, and costumes.  Numerous bikes are available for all to use.

We have fields to play baseball or rugby.  The bowling alley is no longer open because it partially collapsed.

The galley serves breakfast, lunch & dinner (plus a midnight meal for mid-workers) 7 days a week.

The population of McMurdo during the austral summer is around 1100.  The population is not stable.  Scientists, and contractors alike, are constantly rotating in and out of town. In the winter the population is about 250.  Those 250 are stuck for the duration, because, no flights are made into or out of McMurdo for the 6 months between March and August.

View of McMurdo Station from the air.

Viewed from the Southeast, looking Northwest

The red roofed building is the clinic.  Frozen McMurdo Sound in the background.
Viewed from the North, looking South.  Observation Hill in the background.

The partially viewed large building on the left is 155.  This the heart of the station.  Inside is the galley, computer kiosk, library, store, recreation & housing offices, along with some sleeping quarters.  I was told that the buildings up on the hill is where the nuclear power plant was located.

Buildings 15, 20, 11 and 18.  You often see these moveable huts in different places out on the ice sheet.

The Chalet. (NSF headquarters)


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