|Mysterious water tower of mysteriousness|
"Sure," said Joe, always up for an adventure.
We wove through the woods and eventually came upon what looked like...an old military base. Warning signs and barbed wire surrounded the outside. Rows of identical, squat buildings that looked like barracks huddled inside, along with the water tower and some other larger squat buildings. Everything looked old. There was a guy running a backhoe on the road right next to the mysterious structure, so we decided not to do any further investigating. But we did say that we'd remember to look it up on the map when we got home.
And we did.
|Mysterious structures of mysteriousness|
Dang. What the hell is this thing? After looking at the way it was laid out, I thought for sure that it had to be military.
A little bit of searching online and I discovered that it was...an abandoned cold war USAF missile base.
AN ABANDONED COLD WAR USAF MISSILE BASE.
Holy shit, how cool is that??
Here's a little Wikipedia page about the 74th Air Defense Missile Squadron. The "barracks" I saw were actually homes for CIM-10 Bomarc supersonic missiles. The roofs were split-fold so that the missiles could stand up and pew-pew-pew, shoot off into space to knock down incoming nuclear warheads.
The base was in operation from 1960 to 1972. There were only eleven Bomarc missile sites in the US, all inactivated when the missile became obsolete. Now it's being used as storage for private businesses, and it looked like there were a couple manufacturing companies up there too.
|Bomarc Missile, ready to go|
|Both this picture and the one above it shamelessly stolen from a website,|
which in turn stole them from the Duluth News-Tribune archives, 1972
So, you may be asking yourselves, will I go back up there and investigate again? The answer is YES YES YES. I'm going to tell a few of my friends about it - my friend Jeff is a military buff, he'd get a huge kick out of it - and I'll head to the library to see what more I can dig up about it. Trust me: we'll go back, and I'll have plenty more to say and show about it.