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markbvt 05-11-2008 10:17 PM

Atlas-F nuclear missile silo revisited
Updated May 18, 2013, on page 4

Some of you may remember the ride report that Questor and I posted last fall about our visit to an Atlas-F nuclear missile silo in upstate NY. Here's the thread for those of you who missed it:

We went back on Saturday, accompanied by four other ADVrider inmates (I confess, I was not able to retain their screen names in my poor memory -- I know they'll chime in here though).

For me the morning started with missing Questor at our appointed meeting spot -- timing mixup. I headed down to an open house at the Suzuki dealership where I bought my WeeStrom, then from there headed west into NY and to the silo site. Questor was already there, and I found him and the silo's owner, Alexander Michael, chatting in the kitchen of the LCC.

I didn't waste much time asking Alex's permission to explore the silo (last time, as you'll recall from the previous post, we only went down as far as Level 3).

This is the tunnel leading from the LCC to the silo (seen from the silo end):

Alex has removed the roof that was over the silo opening during our last visit, so a lot more light made it into the depths. Here's what you see looking down into the silo:

Silo door from below:

The tunnel enters the silo on Level 2 (Level 1 was removed from the silo ages ago for salvage). I started down to Level 3 and snapped this pic of Alex (left) and Questor on my way down:

Here's a tour of Level 3:

From there I continued down to Level 4:

Many of the overhead lamps still had lightbulbs in them:

Continuing our tour of Level 4:

This is the elevator shaft:

More of Level 4:

Continuing down to Level 5:

Here's the view down into the bottom of the silo from Level 5:

Continuing along Level 5:

Another view down into the silo. The large missing sections were cut out in order to remove the gigantic liquid oxygen tank.

And looking up towards the top of the silo:

Level 6. By this time the light was getting very, very dim.

Level 7:

Here's the view across the bottom of the silo:

Looking down to Level 8. The spiral stairs end on Level 7, and only this ladder goes down to Level 8. I was covered with enough rust already (my jacket is going to have red-brown spots on it for ages), so I decided not to venture down.

I walked back up the spiral stairs to Level 2, then headed back into the LCC and up the stairs to the surface.

Since the last visit, Alex has acquired the hydraulic rams that open and close the silo doors. They've just been rehabbed and are awaiting installation. They're big suckers:

Even the wrist pins they use are huge (large bag of chocolate chip cookies for reference):

The silo door, which explains why the hydraulic rams need to be so big:

Soon the four other ADVrider inmates arrived...

And Alex started giving them the tour. Here he is showing them the launch console in the LCC:

And the mounting bracket for the crib in the silo:

We walked down to Level 3 again, and I got this shot that's a nice bookend to one from the first visit:

Here's the original shot:

Once everyone was done exploring, we fired up the grill. I wonder if there are any other people in the world who have ever barbecued inside a nuclear missile silo.

We're calling it the Fire In The Hole Party.

After dinner we watched "The Day After" and "On The Beach" before we all crashed out in the LCC. Then we made our way homewards Sunday morning.

It was fascinating exploring all the way to the bottom of the silo (well, to the water, anyway), and it was great meeting everyone. This was a blast (no pun intended).

And as before, thanks again to Alex for being such a gracious host, and to Questor for arranging this!


swingset 05-11-2008 10:23 PM

Very cool!!

79SouthJim 05-11-2008 10:26 PM

First of all, those photos put a chill up my spine. Kind of frightening.

Secondly, barbequing sausages in the place? You guys may be my new heros.:thumbup

djekler 05-12-2008 12:23 AM

thanks, nice report, nice pics.

What will become this silo?
Whay bying a place like this?
Is there a little radioactivity?

KHVol 05-12-2008 01:55 AM

Wow..right out of H.G. Wells.....

Junkyard 05-12-2008 04:54 AM

Feeling..Ooooo... Feelings...
Awesome pics Mark. So nice to meet everyone and hang out
underground. Glad you liked the salsa. On to the silo......
The sensations you experience being totally
isolated in a floating room so far underground are really strange.
It was a great experience and loads of fun with this group of people.
Certainly doesn't hurt that our host is a fabulous person who made
the visit a great time. The extent of the work and the quality of it
was very impressive. The wiring on the control panels and the beefy-ness
of the welded steel parts was top notch. I can see why this was such a
boom time for American industry. I am soo glad I got this chance and
will be back to visit Alex when he returns from Austraila.
Great to hang with everyone.
Happy Monday

Damir 05-12-2008 05:33 AM


I wonder if there are any other people in the world who have ever barbecued inside a nuclear missile silo.
:bow :bow

Very cool! :thumb

Colemanfu 05-12-2008 05:33 AM

That place is so cool - I could look at those pix all day. I bet it was a blast to explore. Looks like water at the bottom?

Yossarian™ 05-12-2008 06:32 AM

Back in my college days, there were a few of us who used to go exploring abandoned silos in SE Nebraska. I think they were all Titan II silos, but am not sure. It was pretty spooky.

Every now and then a silo rehab takes place, where someone turns it into an underground abode. That'd be sweet, especially if it had a large underground garage attached.

Stretch67 05-12-2008 06:47 AM

About eleven years ago I visited the Titan silo museum in Green Valley, Arizona, just south of Tucson. Most of it has been restored to its active-duty appearance and guided tours are just a few bucks.

Way cool.

Questor 05-12-2008 08:04 AM

Nice photgraphs Markbtv. :thumb

I'll add mine when I get to a 'real' computer.
What began as a random bizare idea last year; turned into a great experience, and a wicked party with great folks. :clap

Unless I suffer some kind of severe head trauma, I'll never forget it. :jump

markbvt 05-12-2008 08:50 AM


Originally Posted by Colemanfu
Looks like water at the bottom?

Yes -- when Alex bought the silo in the mid-'90s, it was flooded up to Level 2 (you can see the rust-colored water line on the wall). He's pumped most of the water out, but there will always be some in the bottom -- groundwater flows in at an impressive rate. On the lower levels you can see streams of it running down the silo walls.


Originally Posted by Questor
What began as a random bizare idea last year; turned into a great experience, and a wicked party with great folks.

I couldn't agree more. This really was a lot of fun. I can't wait to see everyone else's pics -- I confess that I concentrated on photographing the place more than the events, so I'm looking forward to seeing some social pics.

I also have to bring this up once again because it can't be said often enough: thanks many times over to Alex, who was a truly gracious host. He not only allowed us into his home, he fed us extremely well (filet mignon in a missile silo -- I bet no one ever ate so well there when it was operational!), and he even put up with my snoring!


BikePilot 05-12-2008 08:55 AM

Cool report:clap

MZcountryboy 05-12-2008 06:02 PM

Most unusual accomodations
Definitely the top of the list for "craziest place to spend the night"

The dripping in the silo would get to me over time, but the launch control center was eerily quiet. No daylight either, good thing there are 6 clocks with all different time zones, so you really don't have a fookin clue as to what time it is.

Smells like a battleship I toured once. Must be the same gov't paint.

Hard to comprehend the investment was simply abandoned after less than two years.

It's just amazing what was there, and SO much is missing. Lookit the rams for the doors! They're unreal!

Thanks to Alex for hosting, Questor for congregating, and Mark for cooking!

Ain't nuthin tastes as good as filet mignon and sausage BBQ cooked in a nuke silo where a 4 megaton warhead used to live.



EvilClown 05-12-2008 07:14 PM

Very cool!:thumb

Never had any luck finding those silos when in NY years ago.

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