Skip to comments.7 Amazing Cold War Military Installations Converted Into Homes
Posted on 09/20/2009 10:34:33 AM PDT by BGHater
Image: Jim Merithew
After the end of World War Two, tension and mistrust continuously grew between the USSR and its satellite states versus a western coalition led by the USA. A game of one-upmanship, lasting almost 50 years, developed with each group inventing stronger and more deadly weapons in an attempt to hold a military advantage.
Alongside this military might developed a deep-seated fear of what would happen if there ever was an enemy strike. As a result, both nations went on a massive building campaign of bomb shelters, nuclear fallout sites and bunkers. Not to mention all the missile sites and silos created to house weapons.
When the Cold War came to an end in the 1990s, a vast array of military sites were no longer required. Many fell derelict and continue in that state today. However, some individuals saw the potential in these unusual sites and have gone about giving them a new lease of life.
We look at 7 such projects that have created new futures out of disused military history.
Image: Jim Merithew
Ed Peden discovered this 18,000 square foot underground nuclear missile bunker near his home town of Topeka, Kansas in 1982. When he went down to check it out, most of the rooms were three-quarters flooded with stagnant, smelly water. Yet this wasnt enough to put him off. He could see past the water, the concrete, and the smells to envision a home for his family.
Thats precisely what Ed has done. He started clearing it all by hand, which was fine as he had plenty of time it took him ten years to convince his wife to live there!
The bunker first opened in 1961 and housed a gigantic Atlas E missile which featured a four megaton thermonuclear warhead. By 1965, the site was closed. It took too long for the missile bay doors to open for it to launch feasibly in response to a threat.
Ed and his wife live in just over 6000 square feet of the available space and have even made a spiritual room out of the old missile control room. Ed now has become a broker of abandoned bunkers having sold 48 of them across the Midwestern United States.
Image: via Daily Mail and Essex Tourist Guide
This underground bunker near Manningtree, Essex was built in 1951, as an anti-aircraft centre. It was later converted into a Government planning centre in the event of a nuclear attack. Now it could be yours to develop into a family home. Packing a telephone exchange, dormitory and first aid station into its 7000 square feet, there is plenty of scope to put your own personal stamp on an historic space.
Image: Courtesy of Null Stern
Heres a creative use for an old bunker. Why not turn it into the worlds first zero star hotel? An hour west of Zurich, in the small town of Sevelen, you can sleep for the night in an old Cold War bunker for a bargain 7 per night.
The Null Stern Hotel was created by two brothers, Frank and Patrik Riklin, both artists, who conceived the idea initially as an art project. There was so much interest that it became a permanent hotel. There is no heating, so guests are issued a hot water bottle and slippers. On your pillow each night is a chocolate and ear plugs to drown out the noise of the ventilation system. But at bargain prices, there is no shortage of bookings.
Switzerland is littered with similar bunkers, so it is an interesting new development which could possibly catch on. The only condition imposed on the hotel by the Sevelen Council was that it could be turned back into a bunker with 24 hours notice. Just in case.
Image: Silo Home
Do you fancy living in a missile silo complete with 2000lb blast doors? That will certainly keep the cold winter winds out. This particular home also comes with its own airplane landing strip and has been finished throughout to a high luxury standard including a Jacuzzi tub.
This home is located in the Adirondack State Park in New York State one of hundreds of silos built in the 1950s and 60s to hold Atlas-F missiles. Most sit vacant and derelict today.
Two enterprising cousins, Bruce Francisco and Gregory Gibbons, have taken one near Lake Placid in the Adirondack State Park and created a luxurious home which is accessible by both plane and car. It also comes with 20 acres of pristine land. Currently just over 2000 square feet of the 20,000 square feet of the silo are developed which leaves enormous scope for development or lots and lots of children.
Image: via BBC online
This nuclear bunker recently sold for £240,000. It features 8 foot thick concrete walls and a 6 inch thick steel door. The entire 7000 square feet is set back in a hill. It is easy to see how it could have withstood a nuclear strike.
Formerly a Victorian covered reservoir built in 1905, it was later converted into a bunker during the Cold War. The property, near Twyford village, has most recently been used by a computer security company since it was decommissioned in 1997. It will be interesting to see how this property is further developed.
Image: via Davis Wiki
Affectionately known as The Bomb Shelter, or simply 720, this personal bomb shelter has been given a far more creative use. In 2001, six college friends (who had all lived in a dorm together Gilmore 5) were living together in this house in Davis, California, when they discovered that in 1962 there had been a bomb shelter built in the back yard. They set about to look for it.
In 2003, a new housemate decided to dig some test holes in the grass to see what he could find. Eventually, he struck concrete. Soon a concrete covered hatch was discovered. They took to it with sledge hammers until they revealed a deep dark hole. What was down below? A foot of dank water and a time capsule.
Drained of water, in 2005 the bomb shelter played host to a musical gig. Since then, there have been numerous gigs in the tiny intimate space. Its reverb makes a really good acoustic and it is developing a reputation as a sought-after performance space. Many of their performances have also been aired on local radio.
Image: via RoadsideAmerica
Bruce Townsley is the proud owner of a decommissioned site in Oplin, Texas. His is situated along what is now called the Atlas ICBM Highway a collection of five silos near Abilene, Texas.
With three-foot-thick blast doors, it isnt necessarily a welcoming sight, but Bruce should already see you coming on the video monitors set up in his Command and Control Center deep underground. You see, Bruce not only lives in the old silo, but he opens it up to give pre-arranged tours of this slice of Cold War history.
In a former life Bruce remodelled homes in Chicago, but the idea of owning and renovating his own missile silo got lodged in his brain and never went away. Today he is living his dream. He resides in the Command and Control Center, where he has created a circular living area with kitchen, bedroom, den, living room and dining room. He continues to preserve and develop other areas within the massive silo, although he admits that he could work on it for the rest of his life.
Perhaps you have an even better idea of how to use one of these old sites?
Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Those silos and bunkers would come in handy during SHTF and TEOTWAWKI.
So how do you find these things for sale in your home state?
Thats cool.I would like one that I can put my restoration shop in with living quarters above.
There’s a company called “20th Century Castles” that tracks and brokers the sale of missile silos. I know there are several in central/eastern Colorado, some in Kansas, one in Iowa, at least two in South Dakota, and others around the country. Or at least there used to be. These days, I imagine demand has driven prices up ...
We bought a house in Houston, inside the loop (close to downtown, kinda).
I discovered an underground fallout shelter/bunker under my back yard. It's crazy stuff. I've dated it to between 1950 and 1963-ish (there is no way to tell for sure). It is constructed of 1/2" plate steel and has both rivets AND welds, which is weird. It's also weird to put and underground room where the water table is so close to the surface. I'd like to know what the previous owner was thinking when he put it in; I'm thinking he may have been nuts.
You are the proud owner of an underground rust collection!
Water is always a problem with these installations. I’ve read about a Titan II site in Missouri (?) whose silos are so full of water that the owner uses them to train scuba divers.
“Don’t touch that; that’s load-bearing rust!
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