MYSTERY WIRE — Have you ever wanted to buy a ranch that allows you to access the top-secret Area 51 military base? You are going to need to dig out your checkbook. The Medlin Ranch is on the market. It is the only cattle ranch that is directly adjacent to the world’s best known military base.

The Black Mailbox

That ranch is also home to one of the most enduring stories about Area 51 – the legend of the black mailbox.

Nevada’s Tikaboo Valley is beautiful but sparse. It is not the place you might think to raise and graze cattle. And when a tough cowboy named Steve Medlin first moved into the valley in the early 1970’s, there were no buildings, no running water, and no other utilities.

Medlin and his wife built their large ranching operation using their own sweat and labor to eventually have 750 head of cattle.

Steve and Glenda Medlin (Photo:

They and the rest of the world knew almost nothing about the top secret work underway just over the ridge at a place dubbed Area 51, a designation that disappeared from maps in the late 70s.

The Medlin Ranch (Photo: Allie Bear Real Estate)

In the mid 80’s, they got a crash course on Area 51 when the United States Air Force seized 89,000 acres of public land, with no explanation. Some of that land had been used by Medlin to graze his cattle.

“They say it’s never going to make no difference,” Medlin said. “I’d like to see something in writing say that.”

Medlin eventually worked out a deal with the Air Force. The military told him he could enter the forbidden base to tend his roaming cattle, but he needed to call first on a radio they gave him.

Bob Lazar Goes Public

Things became more complicated in 1989 when an anonymous man appeared on KLAS-TV in Las Vegas and said he had worked at the secret base on alien technology. The man was Bob Lazar and he said he had personally seen nine flying discs.

Suddenly, the UFO faithful began arriving by the busload in the Tikaboo Valley. Months before his name was made public, the anonymous scientist Bob Lazar, showed up at the Rachel Bar and Grill, now called the Little A’Le’Inn, in the company of KLAS-TV and a wealthy businessman named Robert Bigelow.

UFO visitors came to believe that a black mailbox installed on the nearby highway was the spot where Bob Lazar had recorded his UFO videos. In reality it was not where Lazar recorded his videos, the black mailbox belonged to Steve Medlin, not the government.

“People thought, oh my god, there’s got to be the mailbox of Area 51,” Rachel resident and webmaster of Dreamland Resort Joerg Arnu told Mystery Wire recently. “So they started opening it up going through the mail. And of course, the story was what really is not just mail, it’s the mail to Area 51.  A story is that the rancher even found some of his pieces of mail with bullet holes in them.”

In 1996 Highway 375 was re-named the Extra-terrestrial Highway (commonly called the ET Highway), the black mailbox was replaced with a welded, bulletproof white box. But it too became an attraction, a place to camp out, scan the skies, leave graffiti, and take selfies.

“At one point, when I visited the mailbox, I saw that Mulder from The X-Files had signed it. So you know, it became part of Area 51 folklore, and people would still gather there. It was almost like a shrine, it was almost like you had to visit the black mailbox, or your mission is not complete.”

Joerg Arnu, Webmaster –
The “black” mailbox in 1999. (Photo – KLAS-TV)

One group that made the mailbox a destination was the Roadrunners, a distinguished group of former Area 51 employees.

The Roadrunners were just a handful of the thousands of people who descended on the valley for the Storm Area 51 festivities of 2019. A huge law enforcement contingent set up on the other side of the road from Medlin’s Ranch.

A few years before the Storm Area 51 event, Medlin had actually moved his mailbox somewhere else. And now, he will also be moving.

Since late 2020, the Medlin Ranch has been listed for sale, with an asking price of $4.5 million. The sale includes two homes, 70 irrigation spots for cattle, and 80 total acres. Half of the land was sold to Medlin by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for $19,000. The government also installed a weather station on his land.

Medlin and his wife are now ready to let someone else navigate the thin line between the UFO faithful and the so called cammo-dudes, dedicated to keeping them all out of Area 51.

“I really spent a lot of time myself camping in that location, because it’s the best place to meet people interested in the various aspects of Area 51,” according to Arnu. “And you meet everybody from the military aviation people, the secret black project people, UFO people, and what better place to meet everybody and to get a picture of to form my own picture of Area 51.”

The real estate agent handling the sale told Mystery Wire in December 2020 that a pending deal had entered escrow. As of February 9, 2021, it was still in escrow but had not closed.

Year round cattle ranch approx. 140 miles North of Las Vegas, Nevada. 40 acres deeded plus 40 acres patent claims. Cattle run outside year round. There are several improvements on grazing allotments as in water features and branding corrals. Main property has nice feedlot pens for weaning and shipping calves/cattle, 5600 square foot hay barn, 1248 square foot barn and 576 square foot shop. Ranch features 2 newer manufactured homes the large main home which includes 4 bedrooms 3 bathrooms with a wrap around deck and the other home features 3 bedrooms 2 bath which would make a great guest house. Total AUMs on BLM is 6296 plus permit for 250 head on Area 51. Ranch comes with cattle and equipment. Ranch runs about 750 head total.
Area 51 Before & After (Left 1959 — Right 2020)