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Home Sweet Missile Silo

Posted November 02, 2007 12:01 AM by Steve Melito
Pathfinder Tags: cold war extreme homes ICBMs kansas

If home is where the heart is, what do you say about someone who lives inside an abandoned missile silo? More importantly, what do they say about themselves? For Edward and Dianna Peden, home is a refurbished Atlas-E missile silo 25 miles west of Topeka, Kansas. During the darkest days of the Cold War, their underground home housed an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) with a 4-megaton warhead. Today, "Subterra", as their 34-acre estate is known, provides what the Pedens call "a quiet, peaceful environment" which "offers many features that many find uplifting and fun." As the couple explains on their web site, "We of Subterra hold a vision of a healthy, healing, community environment, nurturing Body, Mind, and Spirit."

A Cold War Fire Sale

During the 1960s, the United States Air Force (USAF) abandoned scores of Atlas-E, Atlas-F and Titan-I missile silos as technological advances made their weapons obsolete. For as little as a dollar apiece, the USAF then sold these Cold War relics to farmers, salvage companies and rural school districts. Today, 150 schoolchildren attend classes in a decommissioned missile silo near Holton, Kansas. Edward Peden paid a far larger sum ($40,000) for what he calls his "twentieth-century castle", but his 1984 purchase was still a bargain. According to the New York Times, an Atlas-E missile silo cost the American taxpayer a whopping $4 million in 1959. Abandoned six years later, the 120-foot steel-ribbed tunnel flooded with rainwater and remained dark and dank until nearly twenty years later, when Ed Peden explored the facility with a flashlight and a canoe.

There's No Place Like Home

Pumped dry and well-lit, "Subterra" is now a split-level home with four bedrooms and two baths. The 47-ton garage door that was once the entrance to the missile bay can now be opened with a hand crank. The launch control room where USAF technicians once readied a nuclear weapon during the Cuban Missile Crisis now serves as a living room and boasts a cozy wood stove. During the 1990s, the concrete bay that once held an Atlas-E missile contained wooden propellers, fiberglass cockpits and aluminum wings for Ed Peden's ultralight planes, many of which sold for more than $15,000.

Pssst. Wanna Buy a Missile Silo?

Ed Peden no longer sells flying machines, but he can sell you an abandoned missile silo. His business, 20th Century Castles, has provided over 40 of these derelict properties to "excited owners that plan to refurbish and use them for various personal and commercial purposes". So if you're thinking of buying a castle of your own, now is the time to act. "Because the availability of these properties is limited", Peden's web site explains, "these properties are selling fast."

Resources:

http://itotd.com/articles/282/missile-silo-homes/

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=990CE4DC1639F932A35752C1A963958260

http://www.subterracastle.com/

http://www.atlasmissilesilo.com/images/web_atlas_silo1.jpg

Steve Melito - The Y Files

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#1

Re: Home Sweet Missile Silo

11/02/2007 7:55 AM

That could be great fun to live in. The plumbing must be a bit unusual, but it would save on window cleaning. Overall, if I had the money I'd go for one of those Sea-Fort style pads. Parking would be easy, and the views better on a stormy night. A group called 'subterranea Britannica' like exploring odd underground places. France has a similar thriving community of Troglodytes. Other cities around the world have their own versions too. Very cool stuff.

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#2

Re: Home Sweet Missile Silo

11/02/2007 3:40 PM

wonder how many fire exits these silo homes have????

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#3
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Re: Home Sweet Missile Silo

11/03/2007 3:00 AM

The whole thing is one big fire exit, provided you have enough hydrazine!!!

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#6
In reply to #3

Re: Home Sweet Missile Silo

11/05/2007 12:33 PM

what you need in this hole is oxygen, not oxidiser

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#4
In reply to #2

Re: Home Sweet Missile Silo

11/03/2007 10:47 PM

...each has its own stick of dynamite to make a hole and a shovel for tunneling!!

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#5

Re: Home Sweet Missile Silo

11/05/2007 6:04 AM

Mechanical Engineers build weapons.

Civil Engineers build targets......

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#7

Re: Home Sweet Missile Silo

11/06/2007 10:30 AM

Editor's Update: This morning (11/06/07), I received an email from Ed Peden in response to my request for comment on this story. Mr. Peden has agreed to let me share the following information, which is an excerpt from his email message. Thanks, Ed!

"We are now working on closing our 43rd sale of these underground structures. We are selling an Atlas F site west of Salina, KS to a buyer from Liverpool, UK. He has imaginative plans for its refurbishment and retrofit use. He call his project "Worlds End". So our 20th Century Castles, LLC company has had the opportunity to profitably redistribute many of these cold war multi-million dollar structures to new owners with new visions for their use.

Our 'Subterra' (former Atlas E) home is a great place to create, build, play and live. We have 18,000 sq ft of underground space plus 34 surface acres to develop and expand into. Heating & cooling are inexpensive despite rising fuel costs. We burn wood for winter heat. Our above-ground greenhouse provides the bright sunlight and views that we do not get in the quiet underground spaces. And that 47 ton garage door is now electrically operated. Our original $40,000 investment has now grown to be worth $1,000,000 +. Cleaning, lighting and refurbishing these well-built historic structures creates much value added.

These are rare, collectible real estate offerings in very limited availability. Anyone interested in such a project and contact us at www.missilebases.com to find our more. Videos are offered on the website for those who want a good look at our project. Thanks for you interest in "Subterra".

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#8
In reply to #7

Re: Home Sweet Missile Silo

11/06/2007 10:45 AM

I'm completely envious of anyone who can acquire a place like Ed's. It's fantastic, and the amount of surface acreage makes it possible to live almost self sufficient. What a great place to live ! Anyone with some spare cash should look at this possibility real good since the availability is limited. Former Martello Towers in the UK now change hands for loads of money. I guess it's all about seeing the potential at the right time.

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#9

Re: Home Sweet Missile Silo

08/07/2008 1:51 PM

There is one in upstate NY too.

http://cr4.globalspec.com/blogentry/3803

I grew up near there, everyone always told me that for every missle we have there is one pointed back at us.

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