Okay, this is where all the conspiracy theorists get to say “I told you so.” According to recently declassified U.S. Government documents, the notorious Area 51 is the real deal. But don't get too cocky yet... the papers don't say a single thing about downed UFOs or alien autopsies... not these papers, anyway.
Over four hundred pages of materials, all previously unseen by the public, were obtained by the National Security Archive at George Washington University. The papers chronicle the development of the Mojave Desert-based testing site, which was apparently the heart of the U-2 spy plane program authorized by President Eisenhower after World War II, and multiple countries were actually involved in the project. (The U-2 made shocking headlines on May 1st, 1960, when it was shot down by the Soviet Union in one of the hotter moments in the Cold War.)
According to the documentation, the name “Area 51” simply originated from the section of the map where the compound was located (see map above). It was re-dubbed “Paradise Ranch” by its founders to make it seem a little less creepy to the people assigned to work there, but the original name stuck, obviously.
Here's a clip from CNN on the story: