This is an early 1960's era Atlas E ICBM missile launch facility, located in southwestern Nebraska, along I-80 near Kimball. Commonly referred to as a "silo" but it is not really a silo because the ICBM was stored horizontally in a garage-like enclosure -- "coffin" style. East-west Interstate 80 is in the background. PLEASE NOTE THAT I AM NOT THE OWNER OF THIS SILO AND I HAVE NO CURRENT CONTACT INFORMATION FOR THE OWNER.
Overall, the facility consists of several very large, concrete hardened, buried rooms connected by tunnels.
The only exposure to the surface is one large horizontal concrete and steel door (serving as a hardened roof) that was to be opened for launching the Atlas. The door, designed to survive a close but not direct blast, is permanently closed.
Exhaust vents are a couple of egress hatches are about the only recognizable objects on the roof.
Notice the remote-controlled video camera in the center. Several radio and satellite antennae, weather measurement devices, as well as a solar panel are located on the northern end of the facility. Notice the wind electric generators on the horizon, to the left.
The bottom of the photo shows the sliding missile bay door (roof) and the iron track that it was moved on.
The entrance to the missile (lying horizontally) storage bay is at the right.
Twenty MINI5280 members and their MINI Coopers (18 from Denver, 2 from Nebraska) parked outside the facility, near the missile bay door (vertical).
The Coopers had to wait outside for their owners, but there was plenty of room in the huge missile bay and adjacent rooms.
Inside the missile bay, looking out the partially opened vertical, sliding door, which was over one foot thick. It is now motorized, but was manually opened by Air Force personnel using a crank with reduction gears (nine crank rotations per one foot of door travel).
Missile facility owner, Don Zwonitzer, operates the now electric door control.
Slowly the blast doors (opened to deliver the missile) close out the brutal southwest Nebraska wind.
Watch your fingers and toes!
Looking toward the closed missile bay door (vertical). Narrow at the opening, but plenty of indoor parking for an RV, the bay widens further back.
Don opens a large door to a room adjacent to the missile bay.
A former equipment room has different uses now.
Notice the cast holes in the wall, previously used to pass conduits and wiring.
Don shows the small motor that is now makes opening the missile bay entrance door much easier than in the 1960's.
Charlene Zwonitzer explains that the pit below was formerly used for recessed wiring and other connections to equipment that supported the missile operation.
The pit may find a use as a place to raise fish.
Toward the back of the missile bay is a food storage cellar.
The food cellar maintains an ideal temperature for Charlene's preserves and other foodstuffs -- and it's very dark!
Don shows explains the purpose of one of the two electric generators. All of the infrastructure (power, water, etc) in the facility is redundant (two of each).
The uninteruptable power system automatically switches to an internal source should the utility power black out, which happens on occassion.
The diesel fuel tank supply for one of the generators.
One of several ceiling vents in the missile bay.
The ceiling is about 25 ft high. These conduits are sealed, but may be put to use at some future date.
On the left and right walls are part of the missile cradle/crane, used to erect the ICBM for launch (after opening the roof).
The roof is composed of concrete and steel. this is the "coffin" door that originally slid open for a launch.
The end of the missile bay farthest from the vertical door has been made into a shop, with storage above.
One of the large doors between the missile bay and an adjacent room.
The high roof of the missile bay, now bigger than huge garage.
There will be absolutely no hail damage to this roof!
This is a US Government issue door knob.
The round top room formerly housed a large, stainless steel liquid oxygen storage tank which fueled the Atlas.
The entrance to the recessed room. The tank was removed by a salvage company prior to the Zwonitzer's ownership.
How about a game of racquet ball?
The sound echos through the tank room.
It is a cool 60 degrees in the room.
Part of the 120 ft long passage, known as the cable tunnel, between the missile bay and the launch operations building.
Many personal touches line the access tunnel.
Andy walks the tunnel
Without the lighting it would be pitch dark in the facility.
Wendy exits the tunnel to reach one of the living areas.
The view from the kitchen toward the raised family room. Notice the high ceiling.
Don and Charlene discuss living in their underground home, which has been featured numerous times on TV and print.