Photo Update

Here are some update photos

Nuclear Missile Silo For Sale

Well, not exactly, but this is a fantastic chance to join
me half-way on this amazing adventure.
You can obviously see how much has been achieved so far, but
I've run out of funds and am looking for a kindred spirit to
partner me.
Boquet 556-5 is the most complete privately owned Atlas silo in
the USA. It is certainly the only original and still habitable Launch
Control Centre left in the world. With the silo doors only one step
away from being fully operational, just imagine where our combined
efforts and imaginations can take us.
So, use your own imagination to figure out a way to be involved.
Sell the kids if you have to. Tell your bank manager about your
new weekender. Don't tell the good wife ... or husband. Just do it!
I'm open to any and all suggestions, but money is really the end
game here to bring about the dream.
My preference is a 50/50 partnership and I'm not really interested
in selling the silo outright. It's just been too amazing and too much
fun to do that, and that's the great advantage here: you get me with the deal! All the knowledge, all the background, all the experience in one fabulous package, except I'm out of your hair for ten months of the year.
Email me for details!!


For ten years, the top of the silo has looked pretty ordinary. Sick of it, last year I finally ripped up the 100 tons of black-top, turned it into a mountain, then covered what was left with clay, sand, and finally, spray on grass. It looked really strange: a kind of teal green papier mache. Anyway, it had all the good stuff that grass needed to grow, and so when I arrived back a year later, this is what I saw! Gorgeous! Dennis tells me it's mostly Alfalfa. Can you imagine, never running short of salad mix.
Below is my dream solution for the silo doors.


That mountain you can just see in the background was in flames a few years back. Seems to be recovering. And the guy whose plantaion the firemen discovered is also recovering, in State care.


After eight years, these trees we planted are finally having an impact on the landscape.


This stuff grows so quickly, I'm sure it's not going to stop at my fence line.


This photo gives you an idea of the relationship between the entrance portal in the distance, and the silo doors.


This is a little something I designed called the Solar Bank to be built over the silo doors.
At present, both doors are open, but after all these years, I finally decided to close one of them: the damaged one. Years ago, long before I ever came on the scene, the group salvaging the silo dropped the door whilst trying to lift it open. Needless to say, the door sustained enormous structural damage to mostly the outer concrete surface. The only way to repair it is on the horizontal. Once down, I'll leave it down.
This will provide much needed space within the new enclosure.
The Enclosure will be constructed using a polycarbonite outer skin over a steel frame system. The idea being, to capture every ray of light possible to generate the heat required to warm the top levels of the silo.
Using the enormous air ducts that still exist in the silo, we should be able to drag the heat down to the levels required. Theoretically, this should work throughout summer and winter if the sun is shining.


So in order to test out my theories, I'll try it first on a smaller scale over the Emergency Escape Hatch. This hatch opens directly onto the ceiling of the Launch Control Centre (my living quarters), and therefore provides the perfect conditions for the test. Below is a diagram of how it works.


Although reality is going to be a little more complicated, we'll soon see if it works.


I've been experimenting with some indirect lighting in the upper levels of the LCC. Not only does it make the rooms appear to float, but the sense of sky is an added bonus for those who are a little squeamish about being fourty feet under ground.
Also, that's the new addition to my DIY furniture range.

Missile Combat Crew R-40  556 SMS  Lewis Site

Look what I found, or rather, look what found me!
I've been corresponding with Dick Somerset (centre), and he very kindly provided me with this great picture of himself and other members of the Missile Crew from this very silo. This image will be printed and hung very prominently in the LCC. Thanks Dick!
From left to right are:
Major O. Kanny 2nd Lt. V. Greenway A2C R. Somerset ... BMAT A2C E. Marin ... MFT A2C M. Shannon ... EPPT.
Dick has told me many things about how this place operated, and some great little anecdotes as well, so if anyone else would like to add to this knowledge-base, please feel free to write.

9 tons apiece!

Yep, you read it right, or at least that's what we calculated them to be.
We thought this truck's 22-ton flatbed would by okay to move these Goliaths, but driving anything over 35mph got scary, seriously scary.
Once home however, and after getting a look at them, the crane operator just laughed, apoligised, got back in his truck and hi-tailed out of there. Very disappointing!
Fortunately, my neighbour has a million-dollar excavator (as neighbours do) so he kindly off-loaded one of them so we could safely deliver one at a time to Nortrax in Plattsburgh. They're going to be restoring them: hopefully by the time I return in April of 08 when we're scheduled to mount them on the doors. That should be something to behold.
I want to thank Bruce, the gracious owner of the Oplin Texas silo, whom I've been haranguing for weeks about how to fix and install the rams. He has done a similar thing (thank god).

As of 11/November/07

Well, my October/November trip to the silo will go down as probably my most eventful and exciting since my 40th birthday there nine years ago: so much so, I'm now confident about holding my 50th at the silo in October 08 to show it off!
So you ask, what's there to show off?
Well this for starters: the hydraulic actuators that once lifted the 40 tone doors!
Here they are, returned to my silo after 25 years of sitting in a junkyard, forgotten and neglected. Oh, I can't begin to explain how good this sight was, and it came at a price too, I might add.
If you read my story about how I found the silo, you might also remember Matina the Gamma Goat: the ex army truck Dennis and I drove from Columbus Ohio to the silo in mid-winter. Well, Martina had to be sacrificed to the Silo gods as an offering for these two rams, one of which is behind the other on this flatbed.
It wasn't exactly a clean swap, and so Tony, my partner, had to come up with some extra folding to clench the deal. Glad he visited me from NY.

My kind of holiday happy-snap

This has to be my favorite photo for the season. Having delivered my babies to Notrax, the guys there just scratched their heads while wondering how on earth they were going to get them off the flatbed. This was the solution. Both excavators were on the verge of tipping as they carried my boys to the workshop.

Remember this? Gone!

She really hasn't done much for the last six years.

Sad for her:(

It really was hard to see her go, especially after anthropomorphizing her.

And remember this? Gone as well!

Man, what a story.
Now writing about this is going to be more cathartic for me than interesting for you, but what the hell, it's my party.
Just over twelve months ago, I had my Hummer mechanic service the H1 and install a new transmission. It cost an arm and a leg, but what the hell.
Five months later, I had the vehicle fully serviced again, but 2,500 miles after the new transmission went in, the f..king thing went again!
DePaula Chevrolet of Albany looked earnest when they said 'What a shame it's out of warranty.'
After endless platitudes about how there was nothing they could do, even though it had only done 2,500 miles, unfortunately (for me) it was over the 12 month warranty, according to AMG (the maker), and that was that! 'Ahaaaaa!' was my reaction.
Anyway, I was soon on the phone to AMG to plead my case, and to their credit, they reconsidered the situation and offered to provide a new trany, but not the cost to install it. Fair enough, I thought.
So a week later, DePaula Chevrolet of Albany called to say the vehicle was ready. I arrived to be greated with a bill of $2,400.00 (including towing)!
After having installed the previously failed trany, they thought it fare enough to profit on the second one as well. SHAME on DePaula Chevrolet of Albany, shame!

Meet Nitro, Dodge Nitro

As an adjunct to the above story, Mr DePaula Chevrolet of Albany emailed me to say that he was sorry to read about my misfortune (after I wrote him a two page dissertation), and so offered me a service voucher as a good will gesture. You can probably guess where I thought he could shove it!
Needless to say, I had lost all confidence in the H1 to do a simple job, so that day I drove it to my local Dodge Dealer (Adirondack Auto) to do a deal with George. George was fantastic. He said 'Pick whathever vehicle you want.' I was immediately attracted to Nitro. It was just so ugly, I thought it needed a good home to go to where people wouldn't snigger at him. George handed me the keys and a little extra for the H1, and off we drove, into the wilds of the Adirondack Mountains, and five years of warranty!!!

Tunnel Vision

This was another great breakthrough for this trip. I had thought I was going to be spending the rest of my stay makeing the door rams look nice and pretty, but as we couldn't even get the darn things off the flatbed, I had to look for something else to occupy my hands. Why not the tunnel door, I thought.
You can see it on the far right of this photo. It's called the Debris Door and, over the last ten years, I've had no success in getting it to swing. Fortunately, it was stuck in the open position. Well, after purchasing the world's biggest truck jack, three gallons of a penetrating oil that makes KY look like a tar pit, two days of sledgehammering, grinding, sanding and, a lifetimes worth of RSI, I heard the hinges creak! The door probably weighs in at around two tons, and now only requires a finger to push it open. Not only did I get the door to work, but also the locking levers that hold it closed. Yehaaa!
With that success behind me, I also started work on the large Blast Door at the end of the tunnel. As you can see, it's closed, so I got that to work, as too the locking lever, which is on the concrete wall to the left of the door. That lever's rod is about fifteen foot long and extends all the way through to the silo and the second blast door.

Portal Blast Doors

Well, as I was on a roll with Blast Doors, these two in the Entry weren't going to miss out either. After laying some new rubber matting on the floors, I thought the doors needed a bit of TLC too, so I repainted them with a product called Rustolium. I had used this paint a few years back on the silo doors, and to this day, they still looks as if they were painted yesterday, and that was without any surface preparation at all: just straight over the rust! Mmm, Rustoliummmm; I love you:)

Belly of the Beast

Cool, ha?

Finally, somewhere to sit!

Ten years has been more than just a milestone of time. This October trip has seen its fair share of achievements, and here's the next one.
When there was always so much to do, so many necessities to push over, and all at a cost to the hip pocket, I've never quite been able to afford the chairs I've always wanted for the LCC. Maybe, had I not been stuck on stupid when I bought that Hummer, things would have been a lot different. That aside, I used anything but good chairs to sit on due to the lack of affordable options, including Pilates balls and collapsable camp chairs.
The Corona Chair, first produced in '61 by Danish Designer Poul Volther, is a chair I've often specified for client projects in Australia. (they can afford them.) For some reason, which has never been properly explained, these chairs were not available in the US, and the manufacturer would not send them directly to the silo from Denmark. The bottom line is: it would have cost me over 12G's for three chairs, that is, until the design copyrights ran out. Yehaaa!
I immediately ordered three WHITE reproductions from a company in California. The day finally arrived when the worlds biggest delivery truck arrived: so big, it had to back half a click up the drive. We used the front-end loader to off-load them, the delivery guy took off, and so excited was it to have them, I ripped off the packaging to discover three RED chairs. Rrrrr! Needless to say, we had to go through the whole process again until I got what I wanted.

New Angle

I don't think I've ever posted an angle of the LCC showing these features.
In the background, you can see a red room through the polycarbonite door. It's a tiny space that was used (according to original drawings) as the medical supplies closet, but I've also been told it was a phone booth. Either sounds feasible, though I'm going with the medical angle. The poly door was my idea.
To the left of that door is the AC room.
Above on the ceiling, is the Emergency Escape Hatch. On the central support column, you can just make out the handle and cable used to open the hatch in a time of crisis. Behind the column, is the extraordinarily heavy steel ladder that was used (or not) to climb up to the hatch. I can't lift it. You can see the way this system works in the drawing above: less all the stuff I intend to building into it for heating purposes.
Crossing under the ceiling is the Air Intake Vent.


As per all my trips to the silo, there were plenty of visitors, this time being no exception. Some are friends and acquaintances, and some are people whom I've never met, but have been in contact with via my website.
The first to arrive was Fitz, and what a funny man he is. Fitz purchased the Champlain silo north of Plattsburgh a few years back, and is just now embarking on its clean-up and stabilisation. Fitz has a complicated life both in the US and a bunch of developing countries as he works for the International Red Cross, so quality time at his silo is rare. I wish him all the best.
A few days later, Ed and Mark arrived. They're members of a motorcycle group called Adventure Rider, and they contibute stories about their riding adventures to the Adventure Rider blog. (
Mark had a really cool digi camera, so I've pulled some of his shots of the silo from their blog. See below.
Now Ed, whom you can see in this photo, is by any definition, a cobbler (albeit, a very highly educated one), and the first thing he did (as cobblers do), was notice my shoes: the Merrill Hiking Thermo Moc Waterproof boots. As proof of my love for these shoes, you can see them on my 'Cool Merchandise' link:
Well as it turns out, Ed is responsible for Design and Manufacture at Merrill Inc. Amazing!
Notice also, the offending RED chairs that had to be returned.

Mark's Photos

Even with a good camera, it's still hard to capture the immense scale and proportions of this silo.
As you can see, some sheeting from the temporary roof has been removed, allowing for some light penetration.
All things going to plan, by April '08, the roof will be gone and, mounted on those brackets to the left and right of the opening, will be the hydraulic actuators that will open and close the doors at the flick of a switch. Very COOL!

Shock Strut Assembly #4

Supporting some of the 1,500 tones of steel in the Crib is this suspension strut.
Great shot, Mark!

Level 3 Control Panels

I really like this photo that Mark also took.

As of 18/May/08

After five months at the restorers, the rams finally arrived home again, but looking no better than they did the day they left. All the hard work at the restorers pertained to their in-sides, so we then spent the next week sandblasting, undercoating and repainting. I'm sure they now look smarter than they did fifty years ago.

Ram Details

I now have new admiration for barber-pole painters.

Ram Detail 2

After the pretty work was done, we then needed to figure out how to install these 17,200 pound behemoths.

Door Bracket

In order to reduce the overall weight of the rams, we decided to install the door bracket separately before removing the temporary roof, which has sheltered the silo for the last eight or so years.

Man Lift

The height from the first platform inside the silo, up to ground level, is about forty feet, so we figured the only way to reach everything was to use the largest Man Lift we could hire. So, here it is, about to be hoisted down the hole.

Up she goes!

I must say, all credit goes to both Taylor Rentals for allowing us to do this, and to Tony the lift driver who seemed to just take it in his stride. Dennis and I were so nervous, had Tony blinked once, we would have put a stop to it then and there.

Gently does it!

The 27,000 pound load required some gentle persuasion.

Down She Goes

Notice the two half-inch-thick sheets of plate steel we fixed to the underside of the man-lift. Although Level 3 provided enough structural support for this machine, the flooring is only steel mesh, so we added these two sheets to distribute the weight.


After setting up everything on Level 3, we got on with the dirty work of sandblasting both the doors and the giant steel panels on which the ram brackets rest.

185 feet!

Standing in this basket, Dennis was working 185 feet above the floor of the Missile Well.

LCC Column

Nothing new here except for an interesting angle of the column from the lower LCC.

More Column

This and the previous photo give a good sense of the scale of the central support column.

Let there be light.

Without a doubt, this is the best light I've ever purchased, and standing in front of the new room partitions of the lower LCC, it looks FABULOUS!
Manufactured for the Army's mobile medical units, these surgery lights can run off a variety of power sources, and easily pack away into the steel carry box on which it is mounted.

A Strange Thing Happened.

This scene was the start to one of the strangest days I've had at the silo. You might remember last year a couple of riders from Vermont turned up. Well, this time a few more arrived with them, and bearing gifts no less.

The Lift Well

Two of the riders, Mark and Ed, arrived earlier to see things were in order for the others. Mark headed straight down into the silo to get some better pictures whilst the doors were open and the light was flooding in. The next six photos were taken by Mark, and are certainly the best photos ever taken of the silo.

Brave Mark made it all the way down to Level 7 ... alone! From there, Level 8 can only be accessed by a vertical ladder.

Water, water, water.

Shouldn't be long before the pump kicks in.


This is a great shot, but quite depressing nevertheless. The floors were removed by the salvagers years ago to get to the stainless tanks.

Best in Show.

I think this is the best photo. The silo looks as if it fell victim to nuclear holocaust itself.


Looking up to the ceiling and sky through the open doors.

Shrimp or Snags?

After the ballance of the bikies arrived, we wasted no time in throwing some snags on the barbie. We were out of shrimp. Ed took this photo, and that's Mark in the middle. Unless some airmen in the '60 got up to no-good, I'd say this would be a first for an ICBM silo.

A Great day for an Epic

After a civilised dinner in the LCC, we prepared for a marathon of nuclear holocaust epics. Organised by Ed, it included: On the Beach, The Day After, and, A Boy and His Dog.

As of the 12th of June

Though I'm not at the silo presently, these photos arrived from Jim Cunningham, a friend from Vermont who recently visited to site. After the huge man-lift had done its job and was removed, a smaller man-lift was lowered down.

Down she comes

Although I wasn't there, this looks like it was a lot less drama to drop in.

Brace yourself

You might also have noticed an improvement in the condition of the silo doors, the opening, and the brackets. With the man-lift down in the hole, Dennis and his team were able to sandblast and paint. Damn, it looks gooood!

And up she goes!

This would have made me nervous had I been there.

Ramming it Home

Lining it up

Still on the site, the large man-lift was delicately used to manoevre the ram into position.

Getting Closer

Almost There

Just a few more inches to go, but then, like a classic cliffhanger, Jim must have left the site, because this was the last photo! We'll just have to wait for the next instalment.

October 18 2008

So, there were a few points to my October trip this year.
One was to seek a new investor. Two was to prepare for my birthday party. And three was to open the silo to the pubic for the first time.
For my party, I was expecting about forty guests - a third were regional, a third from NYC and a third from Australia. For those wishing to stay at the silo, I provided a small M.A.S.H. style camp on the surface. The thought of everyone staying underground with me was too much to handle.

Yes ... the doors.

I know, I promised I would have these things working by October, but it didn't happen, okay? And it probably ain't gonna happen for a while either, so I need to get over it!!

Two Weeks!

Yep, it took two weeks to get the place in order. When I arrived, it looked like a nuke really had hit the joint.

The Sagamore Hotel

I organised a bus to pick up some of the party from NYC. On their way, they stopped off at the Sagamore Hotel on Lake George for lunch. Here are some.


I had terrific fun setting up the tent. Everything had to be authentic military, well ... except the perrier water beside the cots. This could not have been more utilitarian, but I just loved the look of it, and I was praying the guests would too.

Tonka Table

I've been to parties where the amount of money spent would make Bill Gates wince, so, I was faced with a delemma: how to make it look fabulous with a not-so-fabulous budget, and I really mean NOT fabulous. As I had already started with the military theme, the army mess kits were a given, giant Tonka toys for the table centres, painter's rags for the napkins and all the glassware from the dollar shop.

Messy kits

For those unfamiliar with army mess kits, the arm in the centre folds back creating a frypan with handle, and the lid is turned over creating a split bowl for veggies. Too fabulous! Note also the pressed metal cutlery that comes with the set.

New lighting

daytime test

Joe and Paul from Albany helped out with a digital projector in the silo. It was still a bit light when this was taken.


Some of the restoration work in the silo.

Bugle Boy

With a blast from our very own Bugle Boy, Minter, the party got off to a rocky start.

Rockets away!

Also helping to get the party going were fireworks over the open silo doors.

Fire in the hole!

Not quite what the silo was designed to withstand, but pretty nevertheless.

Mess Kit use

Me explaining to my guests how to use their Mess Kits and ... how to wash them!


For a moment there, my guests thought they were going to be eating MREs - military Meals Ready to Eat. So, first they needed to know how to prepare and cook them, chemically. Actually, they're not so bad ... considering.

God bless this nuclear ICBM silo. What?

The silo gets a blessing from Fr Geoffrey. Why is everyone laughing?

Naturally there was a theme to this party and, the girls, Vas and Robbie, heeded the word ... beautifully!

Cake or pie?

Somehow my Siloboy cake ended up looking like a pumpkin pie when it arrived with unexpected flourishes.

Siloboy Cookies

Some friends arrived with a box of Siloboy Cookies. Aren't they fabulous, and they were such a strange colour, I had to run the Geiger Counter over them. Can't be too careful.


Taken from an image on my website, some friends used this medallion design to have it cast in aluminium. Brilliant!!

Fashion and Headwear

I have to admit, I'm impossible to buy a pressie for, but I've got to say Ronny Shamask hit this one on the head. Brilliant too!!

Party Favors

Honored that so many friends would come so far to celebrate my birthday, I couldn't let them go home without my silo survival kits including the aforementioned MREs.

It's over when it's over.

These two, Mark and Ed managed to find their ways back to the tent after the party.

The morning after

I've no idea how cold it must have been in the tent that night. Brrrr.

A few days later

Pretty as it is, I'm glad the weather held off for a few days.

So the Work Goes On.

After the last of the party left, there was nothing to do but some more work, so I cleaned and painted the stair down to level Three.


Since the place looked so good after two weeks of work, (really twelve years) it was the perfect time to host an Open House.
It was a terrific success with over three hundred adults signing in.
Jack LaDuke from Channel 3 TV Vermont, and the Press Republican news paper (nothing to do with the political party), both ran some great background stories to promote the Open House.
I had half a dozen friends with yellow hardhats directing the traffic. From that opening came some new friends too, so I've got plenty to look forward to on return next April.

Black Hole

Jim Catalano flew over the site a few days after Open House. Very interesting, with a lot more detail than Google Earth. I should ask Jim to do this on a regular basis whilst I'm not there. After seeing this shot, I realised how it really is one of the nicest ICBM Silo locations. Does that sound ironic?

Fall OF 2008

Still some colour in the forest early Nov.

Groovy Grove

Well at least now it's groovy after a facelift.
The tools for restoring this building are just getting bigger every year.
I wonder what's next.


Mark and manlift

You can now see the reason for the yellow, grey and black colour scheme. It's now officially the silo's theme.
Mark is test driving the Grove 195 feet above the floor of the silo. He took it remarkably well. I, on the other hand, didn't.

20TH OCTOBER 2010 - Door Jacking!

My October 2010 stint at the silo was productive indeed.
My friend, Fitz, from the Champlain silo, was on hand to help me with completing the installation of the door rams.
What we had to do was tilt up the door (150,000 pounds of it) to almost 90 degrees so we could slip the pin through the eye of the ram arm.
We used everything in our arsenal including tow straps, come-along winches and two 70 tone jacks to nudge the door forward. At one point it looked as if it was about to slam down.


After a great deal of coercion, we managed to slide the pin through. You can just see it in this photo. The pin itself is a solid steel rod, which weighs approximately 150 pounds. All this needed to be done whilst hovering 185 feet above the floor of the silo, which fortunately had quite a few feet of water at the base. Fitz later confided that he had pre-planned his swan dive if the worst should happen.

Brave brave Fitz

This photo was taken from the top of the doors looking down past Fitz to the base of the silo. It doesn't seem to convey any of the terror I felt being out there.


I don't know how we would have managed this without the Grove.

Boys and their Tonka Toys

After the pin was rammed home, two end caps were installed to keep it in place, then all I had to do was make the whole thing look fabulous!


This wasn't the highest the man-lift could go, but it was my limit.

View of compound.

This was taken from about 45 feet on the man-lift.


This photo gives a good sense for the scale of the ram and silo.

Down into the Missile Well

A visitor to the silo, Michael Fisher, had the balls to ride the man-lift up and out over the silo to snap this pic.

View to Pokomoonshine


Aside from working on the door rams, I also spent some time putting the pond in order, though it still looks slightly ridiculous having a pond on the site of an ICBM silo.


In the meantime however, work progresses underground.
Some mates from Essex donated this wonderful pressed metal checkerboard to the silo. It looks perfectly at home in the kitchen.


New lights

For $24, these fantastic bunker lights are also perfectly at home in the kitchen.

New lights

The bathroom also scored some new lights - $21 each!

After twelve years, the bathroom needed freshening up.

Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH)

With everything else, I was also honoured to host a tour of the silo sponsored by Adirondack Architectural Heritage. It was a terrifically interesting day, though I was horse by the end of it.
The day was also covered by the Press Republican (no connection to the political party).
Photo courtesy of the contributing writer, Bruce Rowland.