Major Locales of the Titan I Complex

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Site Updates 2013

This is a log of changes and updates to the web site listed in descending order from newest to oldest.  This site is very much a Work in Progress and my work on it is ever on-going though updates may be slow.

 

If you are looking for what's new, you've come to the right place!  Links are provided to updated material when applicable, and postings are organized by date.  Check back often, you never know when I'll add something new!


2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014


12/16/2013 - The final chapter of Groundskeeper Pete, a new video and holiday wishes to all who care to receive them

The Adventures of Groundskeeper Pete finally concludes its first adventure

After over 3 years, the final installment of this epic journey is finally complete!  Read the last section: Groundskeeper Pete Part XIV and join in the adventure.  Well, join in anyway...

 

Delayed by illness and adversity, this final installment finally breaks wind on the shores of the internet.

 

Royal City video segment 1

This update sees the first of a series of videos from the Royal City trip as well.  While as much as I would love to present something evocative of a BBC documentary on the Titan I (why has no one done this?!), my earlier "teasers" should have lowered your expectations sufficiently to prepare you for this first segment from the trip to 568-C.

 

I am sorry I am not set up to stream video so you'll need a video player application.  They may play in some browsers but I have not tested this.  If simply clicking the link does not work, try right clicking and using "save link as" to download the file.  As before, I offer 2 file sizes for those whose bandwidth cringes at the sight of large files.

 

If you have trouble with the files I'd like to hear about it, perhaps I can remedy the issue.  Enjoy!

 

Download Royal City 2010, video segment 1 - (Low quality) (10min 8s - 78.7MB MP4 format)

Download Royal City 2010, video segment 1 - (Higher quality) (10min 4s - 318MB MPG format)

 

I can already hear the cries over the shaky video and my vapid commentary.  Please, I am my own worst critic, the impetus to improve is already at work so save your hate mail please.  

 

In the meantime, I insult Wagner, videographers and editors with my latest work.  Now I hope only to emerge unscathed by the holidays and wish to extend to all a happy end to this year, and a joyous new one.

 

Best wishes,

 

--Pete

10/28/2013 - A Memorial, Spooky Halloween update, a new Video, Titan I in Science Fiction and other news

Sad News - Loss of a friend, inspiration, advisor and great historian

Well over a year ago, a friend confided in me that their cancer had come back and expressed obvious frustration and sadness about this dreaded news-- news deeply feared by anyone who has survived cancer I am certain.

 

My heart went out to him and I was truly hopeful that he would once again prevail against his illness.  I did my best to be encouraging but his response seemed to suggest that the prognosis was poor.

 

Wary of being a nuisance during a terribly difficult time, I decided not to pester him with my usual notes and letters of inquiry about Titan I intricacies and such, but continued to send along photos and other items of interest he might enjoy.

 

We exchanged a few emails for a while and then I didn't hear anything for a while.  I hemmed and hawed over whether I should contact him and ask how he was doing or simply write or call to keep in touch, but I felt I should let him be.

 

Time and time again, I resolved to contact him, but somehow did not.  It was partly forgetfulness and partly hesitance on my part.  Should I call?  Would I just be intruding during a time when he needed to be allowed to rest?  

 

I guess I was hoping that one day he'd write to me or I'd hear from someone that he was okay and I could feel safe that I wouldn't embarrass myself or something by being a pest.  All the while I feared the worst.

 

I am an idiot.

 

Finally, after months and months of avoiding the truth, it came calling just as I feared.  He was dead, and not recently deceased, no, he had been dead for months.  My procrastination had cost me any further chances to talk to, to comfort, or to share our common interests in what may have been his time of greatest need.  My sense of shame was immediate.

 

It occurred to me that perhaps the correspondence we had shared was not some bothersome trifle to him, and was perhaps in fact, something in which he found joy and something to occupy his mind and compel him to fight his illness. Sadly, I never took the chance to find out.

 

Though I had often expressed my gratitude on my web page for his help, his photos and documents he provided and his unwavering commitment to finding answers to just about anything about the Titan I system, I never got the chance to tell him directly how much it meant, how much he inspired me and how much he had helped to make the web site so much more than it would have been without him.  I regret that very, very much.

 

So it is with sadness I say goodbye, express my condolences to his parents, relatives, friends and his co-workers/collaborators at the museum where he volunteered over the past few years.

 

Fred's obituary can be found here and you can share your memories of him or offer your condolences to his family as well.

 

I would like to talk a bit about Fred in his memory:

 

My first involvement with Lowry 724-C in the Fall of 2000 quickly led me to Fred.  After all, missiles were where Fred lived: his father manned a missile complex, he grew up in the shadow of the six Titan I sites around Aurora and Denver Colorado where he lived, and when he was a young man, he was fascinated by the abandoned tunnels far under the ground with their enormous domes and silos.  He'd been immersed in missile history for decades.

 

Naturally it didn't take long for our paths to cross.  Fred had a constant presence online, doing what he loved: researching and sharing information about missiles.

 

I first bumped into Fred on a Yahoo group named Missile_Talk*, where I had begun posting lots of pesky questions about the Titan I weapon system.  The folks there were a friendly lot and were extremely helpful answering all manner of obscure questions.  Fred answered nearly every one of my questions about tiny details pertaining to the Titan I system and before long we were talking almost every week.

* Now called the 'Missile Base Discussion' group.

 

Then, in 2001 I traveled to Colorado to see Lowry 724-C for the first time and assess the cleanup and possible re-use of the site as a commercial property.  Naturally I contacted Fred to see if he'd care to get together and talk about missiles.

 

I met Fred at a nearby bar and grill and when I walked in I spotted him right away-- he had several large photo albums with him filled with pictures of Titan I missiles and missile sites.  We spent the next several hours talking about nothing else as Fred showed me his fascinating sets of photos filled with many details about the Titans that I had never seen before.  All the new information fueled further conversation and we could easily have talked all night had I not been on a schedule.

 

Fred absolutely loved talking about missiles and his eyes lit right up as he spoke and I knew we shared the same excitement for this amazing and complex weapon system and its history.  As we talked he told me about his younger days back in the 1970's when he and his buddies used to "visit" the abandoned sites and have a few beers and more exciting adventures he'd embarked on.

 

For the next eleven years Fred and I kept in touch, sharing photos and documents about the Titan I and Fred helped me track down information about the missile sites and various aspects of the equipment, procedures and crew duties.

 

I visited Fred several times at his home in Aurora where I marveled at his extensive library of information he'd compiled over many years and we talked the day away each time just talking missiles and with Fred relating his missile stories of visits to sites all over the US.

 

Fred was a character for sure, take one look at the photo on his memorial page and you'll see he's got a mischievous twinkle in his eye and his stories of late-night escapades were always a delight to hear.  Clearly Fred knew how to have a good time.

 

In the years after I met Fred in Denver, I recall finding beer cans and bottles in 724-C in strange, hard-to-reach places such as way up high in the antenna terminals on a small ledge above the catwalk level, or in the cramped tunnels of the launcher air facility and I always chuckled to myself and wondered if it had been Fred who put them there.

 

I had hoped that one day Fred would join me in one of my Titan Adventures.  I'm sorry he never got the opportunity.  Whenever I work on my web site, whenever I am working on Titan photos or even think about the Titan I, I always think of Fred and how much he helped me and how much he contributed to the site.  

 

Here I will remember Fred for all his help, his generosity, his hard work to document and preserve history and for his friendship.

 

Thank you for everything Fred, I'll always remember you.

 

Frederick J. Epler

1961 - 2013

 

Latest update now online

This latest addition: Groundskeeper Pete Part XIII is now up!  We are nearing the end of this adventure, the home stretch, the final countdown as it were, and it's hard to believe it has taken me over three years to get to this point, as you may recall, Walter and I made this trip in the Fall of 2010!  Yikes I'm slow.

 

You may perhaps worry that this is the end, that soon there will be no more adventures; that 'ere long I will close the book on this journey and that will be that.

 

Nope.  Barring my sudden and unexpected demise, there are enough adventures to keep me going for the next decade at least (especially at MY pace!) so fear not, the work shall continue for years to come.

 

Egad, another video! - New teaser video now online

You may be wondering what makes this a Spooky Halloween Update.  Well it's the latest teaser video of course!

 

Though I will admit, that the "teasing" aspect may well come from the fact that it may cause you to wish that: 

 

A) I was a much better videographer

B) That I was possessed of a much better video camera

C) That there was much, much better lighting

Will you find the video to be spooky?  Well, maybe...  

 

In any case, here is the new teaser video available for download in 2 file sizes:

 

Download Titan I video clip 2 - (Low quality) (4min 16s - 23.1MB MP4 format)

Download Titan I video clip 2 - (Higher quality) (4min 14s - 133MB MPG format)

 

I can recommend an excellent and capable player which is both free and available for PC, Mac and a host of other OSes:

 

VLC Media Player Official web page

 

I have no affiliations with the above software project, I just find it to be a good, capable (and FREE) video player.  I hope you will find the video enjoyable, these teasers are a lead-in to longer videos of the Larson 568-C complex which are forthcoming.

 

As always, there are lots of other things in the works, more adventures to come and additional documents, photos for the archive and other stuff.  Now if I could just get it all online!

 

Titan I Fiction - Diamond Tide

Back in February, it came to light that someone was writing a novel in which a Titan I complex was a major setting and story element.  Obviously I was intrigued and wanted to know more, and when the author contacted me and shared his draft of the story I was eager to see it.

 

Just a few weeks ago, the novel Diamond Tide by George Applegate went into publication and is available on Amazon and other sellers at links on the author's web site: http://www.georgeapplegate.com/

 

This is the first work of science fiction that incorporates a Titan I complex into the story so I felt that more than justified its mention here.  

 

Synopsis for Diamond Tide:

A floating blanket of self-replicating nanomachines has spread across the Earth's oceans, sucking carbon dioxide from air and water, suffocating marine life, causing crop failures, and bringing famine and social chaos. This environmental catastrophe will soon doom mankind unless stopped. The nanomachines' startling complexity has scientists baffled. Identifying its source has investigators stumped. No lab admits error. No terrorist claims credit.

Time is running out. A search is on for a fugitive nanotech engineer suspected of being the terrorist. Scott Eastman, a disgraced DHS analyst eager to redeem himself, schemes to use the suspect's ex-girlfriend. Eager to become a hero, he must choose between his duty, his honor, and his growing suspicion that the prime suspect is innocent, yet may still hold the key to ending the plague. There is no room for error.

Oh I love a good mystery and I love good solid science fiction grounded in real science!  As always, I don't do paid endorsements, this novel earns a mention by its sheer relevance to this web site where I think it will surely interest visitors.

 

George Applegate lives in Los Angeles, but is currently on retreat working on his next novel.  I look forward to hearing where his next story will lead.

 

Until next time, best wishes and happy holidays!

7/14/2013 - Where's Pete been??  New update and more archive photos!

Server Self-destructs - Vexation Ensues

Some weeks ago, a power outage dealt a fatal blow to the RAID 5 array comprising the domain server through which I accessed ALL my files.  My photos, my documents-- everything, gone.

 

But not forgotten...

 

The files were fine, residing comfortably on another array and in backups, they persisted unmolested.  Unfortunately, I couldn't reach them to do any work!

 

By itself, not having access to my files to work on updates is really annoying, but it also cuts me off from my music files and tons of other stuff I miss every day.  This was extremely frustrating to say the least.

 

Rise of the Machine - Server Reborn!  Access Restored!

A new server has restored my access and so my work can continue.  Expect more new material shortly!  In the background, interesting things are brewing, but nothing is certain.  I am standing by to see how things develop.  Could I be more cryptic?  Probably.

 

And now some good news

The Overpressure Archive has some new additions (finally) featuring as-yet unseen photos of Titan I history.  A new collection entitled "American Machine & Foundry" has been added which contains 4 new photos in an album called "AMF Events".  Two of the photos were taken at Buckley Field in Colorado and show 3 important figures in the history of the Titan I.  One of those men was president of AMF, Carter L. Burgess.  The other two men I haven't been able to identify.  Each wears a hard hat with a name tag, but the tags are hard to make out leaving the names up in the air a bit. 

 

One tag appears to be preceded by "GEN." and the name appears to be "G. Atchell" or "Mitchell" or maybe even "Hatchell".  I wasn't able to turn up the name of this general myself and I couldn't be certain of some of the letters as they were too indistinct.

 

The next unknown's tag appears to read "T" or "F" "Dreyer", "Breyer" or "Dweyer".  I cannot be sure.  I'd love to identify these men so they can be properly credited.  If anyone can help I'd be grateful.  These pictures may not have been seen by their friends or relatives in decades.  It would be nice to be able to give them the proper names.

 

Your Help Greatly Appreciated

Here is a high-resolution image of the name tags to help ID the persons shown.  Perhaps they will be of help.  Click the photo below to see the high-res image:

 

Have you seen these men? Who the heck are they?

 

They appear to be big wigs with AMF in the Titan Field Operations Division, but may also have been sub contractors to the construction company so it isn't clear who they worked for directly.  If anyone can help name these guys, please contact me.

 

New Groundskeeper Pete update - Part 12

floats your boat with the next leg of our exploration of Larson 568-C.  Could I be close to closing the book on this trip that happened in 2010?  Maybe-- and damn!  Am I slow or what?!  Well anyway, more to come so keep an eye out.

3/1/2013 - Minor update to Missile Silos section I, Missing Images fixed in last update

Pete Renzi, an engineer with AMF had sent me a 3rd memoir on his work with the Titan I launcher system late last year and obviously I have been less than quick to get it posted, but finally it is online here: Missile Silos section I.  There is a link to a pdf there which I had some trouble viewing in its entirety.  I hope that's just me and others will have better luck.

 

Glaring Omissions Spotted - Summarily Corrected

A reader contacted me yesterday pointing out that the last update was missing a number of images in sections X and XII.  Sure enough, I had neglected to move the files to the web server and so there were big, ugly empty frames where Tiny Images should have sat.

 

"Egad!", I said (I really did) and set about correcting the problem.  Those missing images had been unknown to me for 6 days!  Had no one mentioned the problem, I might not have noticed them for weeks.

 

Please, if you should spot any missing images, broken links, horribly-mangled page layouts or just egregious misuse of written English on the site, let me know right away so I can fix it.  Anything broken on the web site is definitely an oversight and I'll want to resolve it straight away.

 

If you're waiting on the next Groundskeeper Pete segment, don't despair, it is in the works along with other dubious projects.  

2/22/2013 - Groundskeeper Pete X updated, XI released.  Also: The Destruction of the Titans

I made a few updates to Groundskeeper Pete section X, adding some graphics that better illustrated functional aspects of the launcher system, I urge people to take another look at the diagrams I've added if they find the inner-workings of the launcher interesting.

 

Groundskeeper Pete Section XI is now online!  See what Walter and I get up to next as we scale to the top of silo #3!

 

And now a bit of somber news:

 

Titans in Peril

Only days ago I saw something I thought I would never see.  I didn't think it was really ever likely to happen, but it has.  The unthinkable.

 

The following images may shock you.  They shocked me.  Join me in saying farewell to the fallen.

 

Rest In Peace - Ellsworth 850-C (Sturgis, South Dakota)

 

Power House

 

Power House

 

Missile Silo

 

Missile Silo

 

Equipment Terminal

 

Equipment Terminal

 

Control Center

 

Sturgis 850-C at Nebraska Silos - Some great photos at the links at the top showing part of the site after de-watering was well underway.  As the Sturgis site effectively no longer exists, I'd love to hear from anyone who has photos of it to share-- particularly of the underground complex.  I'd love to link to them or post them here, thanks!

 

1 Down, 17 to Go

When did this happen?  Somewhere between 2007 and 2011 apparently.  Truth was, I had heard mention of it, of something going on out there, but nothing I could verify.  It was flooded I was told.  Really flooded-- the entire site lost beneath the water, but still there waiting for pumps to free it.  One of the most intact Titan I sites, I had heard it said.

 

I was pretty confident that salvage would be so costly and so time consuming, and would require so many environmental measures to prevent further contamination of water, air and soil that such efforts would be quickly abandoned.  I was wrong.  

 

And so, for a year and a half, pumps did run, revealing 850-C for the first time in decades and offered it up to the heavy machinery that would render it down to handfuls of rubble.

 

Well, I always knew it was a possibility, but thought it more likely someone would turn a site into an underground home, a giant subterranean garage, a vault, an adult-sized romper room of some sort...

 

But the photos show the harsh reality: a site destroyed without any thought or provision to preserving any shred of its history.

 

Well, surely it won't happen again, right?

 

Elbert County's Fine Mess

In 2000, I traveled to Colorado with Lowry 724-C's owner to discuss possibly purchasing some of the other Lowry sites in a plan to try and clean up Titan I sites and use them for a commercial venture that would have not only ensured their survival, but potentially pave the way for clean up and restoration of Titan I sites in other states.

 

Our first stop was to Lowry site 725-B, the Deertrail site. 

 

Having no point of contact, we drove to the site to see if we could at least get an idea of its condition.  On arrival, we saw no signs warning us away, no gates or physical barriers, so we stepped out to look around.  We observed the distinctive leaning entry gate and the excavated diesel tank.

 

There was a house only a stone's throw from the gate and so we knocked.  Back then, it was the owner's brother who resided there and he gave us vague directions to the owner's ranch somewhere northwest of there.

 

Well, suffice to say, our visit to see the owner of 725-B was about as welcoming as a boot to the ass.  We arrived to find a hive of activity with ranch hands scurrying about and driving tractors and combines about-- you see the man we were there to see is an agricultural land baron of sorts and back then he owned (and farmed) in excess of 1 million acres of CO land.

 

Busy as he was, it's not a big surprise he had better things to do than listen to our offer on this small plot of land, but he could have just said that.  Instead, he just let us stand around out in the heat like idiots until we gave up.  Smooth.

 

Okay, that could have gone better, but hey, there were other sites.  We decided to try our luck with the Elizabeth site which was owned by the county and apparently under their stewardship.

 

While we were unable to meet with anyone on that trip regarding the Elizabeth site, the groundwork for discussing its purchase was laid and a meeting was planned in the near future.

 

The arranged meeting was perhaps a month hence when the owner of 724-C would take a flight to Colorado and attend a meeting of the local council members where they would hear his proposal to purchase or possibly lease the site with plans to clean it up and start a business in the underground facility, thus making the site clean and providing a revenue stream from an otherwise un-utilized piece of land that bore certain liabilities from a public safety standpoint.

 

So what was the outcome you ask?  Rather a surprise it turns out.

 

After traveling at his own expense, booking a hotel room for 2 days and renting a car to make the drive to Elizabeth to meet with the town council to make his proposal, he was informed-- after waiting several hours for an audience, mind you-- that they didn't have time to hear his proposal.  Nor would they have time to listen to his proposal ANY time that week.

 

Thus ended what was perhaps the best hope for 725-C's cleanup and return to use as a useful and environmentally sound source of tax revenue, job opportunities and growth in Elizabeth Colorado.  He flew home without so much as meeting the council members and that was that.

 

Fast forward 10 years and 725-C was still sitting there, as ever, a place where municipal waste management was conducted.  A landfill occupied part of the land and a trash compactor was located on site.

 

The tech boom had gone bust.  The economy had put the country through a wringer several times over, and jobs, manufacturing and tech industry had been sent overseas in a blind competitive race to the bottom.  The plans for 724-C had withered and died and its owner had abandoned the project and sold the site which was promptly placed back on the market at a price several multiples over what it had been purchased for.

 

It was about this time (2009) I received an email asking very pointed questions about how much steel was used in the construction of the Titan I sites.  I'm no fool, I know exactly what that means: someone wants to see if there's any money to be made by demolishing a Titan I site.  Scrap copper and steel prices were up.  Way up-- and someone wanted to cash in on the Titans.

 

A brief dialogue ensued whereby I found that plans to demolish a Lowry site (as yet undisclosed) by a local contractor were underway.  I also knew that it would go forward in spite of my help or lack thereof so I did offer up existing sources of information and was told I'd hear back when or if the contract went forward.

 

Years went by and I heard nothing more of it.  I chalked it up to being financially unworkable as it seemed like too much expense would be needed to extract any scrap from the sites.  I relaxed feeling that the whole thing had blown over.  But then in 2012 I heard tell of some activity going on at the Elizabeth 725-C site in Colorado...

 

Seems there had been some digging at 725-C and then a problem with the contractors.  Work had been stopped, but what exactly had been done?  I hadn't heard anything else and the source that contacted me wasn't sure.

 

More time passes...

 

Last week I received word of just what was/is going on with 725-C complete with links to documents painting a picture of a possible Faustian bargain with Elbert county and a local contractor to destroy 725-C and render it down to its very foundations for scrap.

 

An executive summary of events as I read them seem to be this:

 

Backhoe Services of Commerce City Colorado approached Elbert county unsolicited with a proposal to excavate and scrap out the Lowry 725-C site.  Among the proposed incentives to Elbert county was a percentage of the proceeds from salvage.  The exact genesis of this is unclear, but someone had already been bending some ears at that point and it appeared that Elbert county was willing to go forward if the relevant agencies were brought to weigh in on the issues.

 

In July of 2011, a meeting was held with representatives of the CDPHE (Colorado Dept. of Public Health and Environment), the EPA and the Army Corps. of Engineers to discuss the salvage proposal with the engineers of the proposal: Enertia Consulting Group of Denver and Backhoe Services of Commerce City.

 

The product of this meeting was that certain regulatory and environmental policies were encompassed by the proposal and that its forward progress was contingent on the considerations of possible asbestos, PCB, TCE and PCE contaminants (among others) as well as soil and water management, noise and dust considerations for local residents and other factors relating to the presence of a landfill on the property.

 

Backhoe Services billed themselves as the perfect candidate to perform the job according to all the prescribed regulations, environmental procedures and safety measures befitting the project.  After all, they'd done this before...  at Sturgis South Dakota.

 

On September 12th 2011, as Backhoe Service supposedly worked to get regulatory approval, a local resident contacted the CDPHE with concerns about the contamination present at the site and the potential for noise and other "nuisance" issues and how they would be addressed.  Those concerns were met with the assurance by Enertia Consulting Group, via the CDPHE that "...nothing is going to happen on this site until all of the regulatory requirements are first understood by Backhoe Services."

 

Two days later, on September 14th 2011, the same concerned party contacted the CDPHE stating that in fact Backhoe Services had begun excavation at the site and provided photographs showing unearthed landfill waste, exposed concrete structures of the Titan underground site and steep-walled trenches showing more exposed trash from the landfill.  The following day, the CDPHE arranged for an immediate inspection of 725-C and the landfill site.

 

September 16th 2011, inspectors from CDPHE arrived on site and were met by members of Elbert county government and law enforcement.  Apparently Backhoe Services employees had been escorted offsite the day before by the sheriff's office and it was estimated that they had already been excavating for 1-2 weeks in spite of the fact that the contract with Elbert county was still being negotiated.

 

The ensuing investigation turned up samples of exposed material containing asbestos, exposed landfill waste, dangerous open excavations with lack of access controls to prevent injury and non-compliance with proper procedure and acquisition of approval.  In addition, it was stated that work had in fact begun about 6 weeks prior to the inspection, starting with excavation around the antenna silos.  No contract or permission had been granted for any excavation at the site.

 

Rather looks like they have already started digging, doesn't it?

 

The end result seems to be that Backhoe Services, spurred on by the ease of destroying 850-C at Stugis SD with little or no oversight (as the site is rather remote with no annoying neighbors to complain or cry foul when they see reckless behavior in progress) and few obstacles to stand in their way when dealing with a private owner on his own property, felt they could employ the same cavalier spirit as they ripped into the Elizabeth site.

 

Unfortunately, they forgot that in a metro area, laws still apply and someone is likely to notice and even take exception to men with heavy machines stirring up dangerous environmental hazards right in the middle of their neighborhood.  One home stands less than a quarter mile from the excavation with direct line of sight to the digging.  I'm sure the people living there are simply overjoyed.

 

Elbert county is also undoubtedly overjoyed.  Multiple fines are being leveled at Backhoe Services and Elbert county, but it appears that Backhoe Services may no longer exist probably owing to the current situation or other indiscretions, I don't know, but this leaves taxpayers to clean up the mess.

So there it is, the links to the documents are below for your perusal to make your own conclusions about if you wish.  I think it is important for residents to be aware of just what is going on in their back yard, and I wanted to make it clear that these sites are by no means immune from wholesale destruction.  It is clear that Backhoe Services would have liked to continue on and reduce ALL the sites to mere heaps of crushed concrete rubble in a race to capitalize on the high prices of scrap metals.  The same goes for any other missile sites.  Their future is very uncertain even though they've lasted this long, they have been targeted as a resource.

 

CDPHE Inspection

Elbert Co. Letter to CDPHE

New Plains Editorial

Backhoe Services Awarded Titan 1 Missile Site Demolition

Backhoe Services

Google Maps - Lowry 725-C, 2012

 

I don't mean to vilify scrappers and salvage companies at all, only improper and unethical business practices where they occur.  The ultimate decision is with the courts and agencies that regulate such matters.  I understand that there is a perfectly legitimate and necessary business in salvage, but I hope that most of them can operate without finding themselves in such hot water.

 

In any case, for now, 725-C is still there, but for how long?

 

My great thanks to the person who brought all this to my attention and provided links to the information above.  Thank you for keeping me up to date!

 

2/7/2013 - Survey results, Groundskeeper Pete continues, archive updates and more.

Technical Difficulties

This would have been out on the 6th, but a sudden failure of my code on certain browsers forced me to simplify the interface and remove my cute little buttons.  It would seem that my coding methods need updating as current browsers appear to take exception(!) to my usage of antiquated inline JavaScript routines.

 

This affected a number of pages forcing me to discard some of my buttons in favor of text links.  On the plus side, some better navigation has been added to the Groundskeeper Pete sections.

 

Groundskeeper Pete Slogs on!

Section X is now up.  This was such a large section that I ended up splitting it into two updates.  I got bogged down on the details involved in what is now going to be section XI and so it will arrive in the next update.

 

Broken Links Banished

Found a gaggle of embarrassing link errors on several pages that had propagated through copy-and-paste proliferation and fixed them.  I was embarrassed to find this error repeated on about 4 pages.

 

If anyone should encounter problems of any sort, please let me know so I can get them fixed.  Thanks!

 

Mailing List is Now in Effect

Those of you who provided an email address to receive update notices to the web site should now be receiving them as of this update.  Anyone wishing to be added to the list can do so by sending a request via the contact page and including the subject line "Please subscribe me to the Titan I Epitaph updates list".

 

If you have not explicitly asked to be added to the mailing list for updates, you will not have been added.  A couple people provided their email on the survey for inclusion on the list and have been added.  If you want to be added to the list, let me know.

 

There will be an exception to the update notices however and that will be for updates to the Overpressure Archive.  This is because I may be adding updates to the archive multiple times in one day, and sometimes those updates will only consist of one or two photos.  

 

To keep from spamming people with update notices, for now I will refrain from sending updates on small updates to the archive.  If I upload a group of perhaps 10 or more photos at once I will likely send out a notice.

 

Video Tidbit

The rumblings of progress on a true video section are underway as I struggle with my lousy magnetic tapes from several Titan I adventures going back a few years.  Included here (and only here for now) is a small morsel of video taken a few years ago.

 

Be warned, my camera is old, my lighting is insufficient, my editing skills are totally amateur and so are my camera operating skills.  I expect no coveted awards for this video so save your spoiled produce for your local independent theater group.  In spite of my caveat, I hope the short clip will be interesting for the glimpse it provides.  Enjoy!

 

Download Titan I video clip (2min 13s - 37.8MB MP4 format)

 

I apologize to those who may not be able to play mp4 files, but I can recommend an excellent and capable player which is both free and available for PC, Mac and a host of other OSes:

 

VLC Media Player Official web page

 

The Survey

I'd like to share some of the information here for readers who may be curious, as well as address some questions, comments and such raised by readers so here goes:

 

I apologize for not having a way to translate the survey for non-English speakers that would allow them to respond easily.  I really hoped to make that possible but as the survey was handled by a web-based service, I could not make that happen.

 

On to business-- it was no surprise that the responses were 100% male, though I have spoken with a few women with an interest in missile history, such an interest remains largely a male fascination. (a real shocker, I know)

 

Occupations of those who responded were from a wide range of careers but did tend toward the technology and technical side-- again, no surprise as this is a web site.  

 

Nearly 80% lived in the US, with the rest living in Sweden, Great Britain, Australia, Germany and Finland with a few appearing to have dual citizenship.  It was very nice to hear from folks overseas, thank you for participating.

 

The majority had found the site through a web search or link from another page.  I'm very surprised at the exposure search engines give the site and am glad it ranks well on the subject.  

 

The site's navigation was rated to be mostly quite good with some improvement needed, something I have been working on for future reorganization of the site.  It was pointed out quite correctly that there is no good direct link to the Overpressure Archive or the Groundskeeper Pete sections from the main site, something I mean to fix shortly.  Later, an overhaul of the entire site's navigation and organization is planned along with the removal of a lot of bad coding and other fixes, improvements and tweakings.

 

The majority of visitors to the site find the historical photos, technical information, post-op photos and history of the sites themselves to be the interesting aspects of the site that keep them coming back, and certainly urban explorers find the tunnels hard to resist.  A few lived near the old sites, and several used to work at them in some capacity. 

 

I was not surprised to find that a number of people are interested in buying one of the sites, but I must qualify that by saying that it is something they may mostly daydream about in conjunction with winning the lottery and not necessarily that they are serious about doing so.  That said, a number of people contact me every year interested in doing just that and I do my best to provide helpful information about the specific sites, owners and how to contact them along with suggestions about how to tackle cleanup and reutilization of a site.  At this point, it is my firm belief that people interested in doing this should look into entering a joint effort that allows them to pool resources as I can tell you, doing anything with these sites will be demanding in the extreme.  That said, I urge anyone with such inclinations to contact me and I will try to assist where I can.  I've been in that boat before as the "groundskeeper" for Lowry 724-C.

 

A number of people responded saying they had visited various sites over the decades and I would love to invite them to share their experiences and really, if possible, any photos they may have taken with the world as part of the site.  All of this information builds a more complete picture of the Titan 1 Weapon System as it is added here.  Some sites are very minimally documented due to being flooded, utterly destroyed or otherwise inaccessible or just for a lack of information since closure.  Information about the sites' history from people who worked there or even just lived nearby is a very valuable addition to the history of the Titan 1 and would be very welcome!  I would like to reiterate, anything relating to Titan I history, development, photos, whatever is of interest and I'd love to hear about it, include it if you care to share it or even scan materials if need be.

 

Contributions to the site's content have already been graciously shared and added to the Overpressure Archive.  Joe Vicuso and Art LeBrun (an ongoing contributor to the site) recently shared some great photos which are now available and I have added over 50 new images in the past week alone with more on the way!

 

Someone mentioned they are writing a novel set involving the Titan I and I have seen more 3D models being created by people using newer, better software than what I used. I am eager to see what other interesting projects people are working on involving the Titan I!

 

I would like to address some comments and questions people had so I'll run through them now:

 

1) "I would enjoy visiting a missile site if it is safe, legal and still in reasonable condition.  I would consider traveling a long distance to do so.  I am not interested in going under water.  Perhaps you could give guided tours?"

 

There are few opportunities afforded for seeing, in person, a Titan I site these days.  I hope that this will one day change and we will see a Titan I museum that strives to restore itself as much as is possible to the appearance of an operational site.  That's a dream I've long held, but it is a HUGE dream.  I would love to see a place like the Titan II museum in Arizona giving regularly- scheduled tours and working to improve and maintain the condition of one of the remaining sites, but that is extremely ambitious for many reasons, not the least of which is cost.

 

Recently, I understand that the Lowry site 725-C in Elizabeth Colorado, has been partially excavated with the goal of completely destroying the complex.  I don't know to what extent or how true this is (any current info on this would be appreciated), but the truth is that the sites are in danger of destruction one way or another-- by time or by heavy equipment and that is unfortunate.  

 

When I was keeping watch over Lowry 724-C, I gave guided tours to anyone who was interested, as well as to prospective buyers as the property was for sale.  When the property was sold, I was no longer able to conduct tours and my brief stint as "Groundskeeper Pete" was over.

 

To date, there really is only one place to arrange tours to visit a Titan I site, and that is at Larson site 568-C near Royal City Washington.  Undersea Adventures conducts dive tours at the site for experienced divers.  They may also offer tours of the "dry" portion of the site which includes the entry portal, main tunnel junction, power house, control center, antenna terminal and fuel terminal.  If you can arrange to go along with a dive group, you may be able to arrange a tour of those areas with UA or arrange to traverse the tunnels in a wet suit but not enter any restricted areas or dive the silos but still enter them, thus allowing you to see and experience the Titan I.

 

While other site owners may make arrangements, few are very open to entertaining such ideas unless it involves someone interested in buying/leasing the property and most likely making some non-refundable payment-- these people have lives to live too and cannot be expected to do tours for nothing.  That said, I encourage anyone with a burning desire to see a site without breaking the law and risking life and limb on a grand scale to try and visit the Royal City site.  It was worth every penny to travel there and see it-- twice!

 

2) "It's time to change those '40 years ago' references on the front page to '50 years ago,' yes?

 

YES!  When I wrote those words, you can tell I had no idea that my site would even exist 10 years later.  Also, I clearly did not know how to write timeless content that wouldn't require such revision as years went by.  Surely, any real editor would shudder going over the pages on my site for reasons most people might never notice, but yes, the time has come to fix these glaring blunders, and in fact, that entire introduction needs an overhaul as there is some misinformation in there I need to fix.

 

3) "Visits to other sites would be amazing, I am sure there are some sites with cribwork and NO water ruining your wanderings. The very bottom of the launchers would be good to see. MORE VIDEOS they would be great."

 

Well, you are in luck on all counts here. There ARE other sites I've visited to add later; there ARE sites with cribwork and NO water, there WILL be photos from the bottom of the launchers; and there WILL be more videos.

 

That's the good news. The bad news is you have to wait for me to get them online, Sorry. More good news, however, I am motivated by your excitement over these things and it helps get me in gear so keep it up!

 

4) "I think the 3d walk through would be the greatest addition to your site!"

 

I can't help but think that an actual live walkthrough would be great, but I don't know if I can accomplish that. However, an offline, downloadable walkthrough may be possible if I can ever get it done. The amount of work involved is daunting as I found out when I made my first 3D model.

 

That said, such a project would most likely need to be a collaborative effort involving someone experienced in 3D software such as 3DsMax, Maya or XSI. Are there any folks out there with experience creating static meshes who may be able to help?

 

5) "Would it be possible to get the photos from the old 'Siloworld' site integrated into this site?

 

There were some great photos there and Gary's site inspired me (among others) to create this site focusing on the Titan I. It has been a long time since I have spoken with Gary. I would of course only include his photos with his express permission which I currently have not asked for and cannot say that he would be open to an idea.

 

I understand only too well how life can get in the way of these historical endeavors and I can only guess that he is busy with other things at the moment.  Having said that, I would be perfectly willing to work with Gary on his projects to put missile stuff online, share photos and other materials, etc., but I don't want to be a nuisance, so I leave that up to him if he is interested in any of that.

 

6) "Why 'chromehooves'?"

 

I'm not surprised by this question really, what surprises me is that it hasn't been asked before. Here's the deal:

 

When the genesis of the site was forming in my mind, I had no idea it would go this far and grow to be this large. 

 

Still living in a Colorado apartment as I was back in 2002, I had a crummy residential DSL connection that came with 25MB of free drive space to host my own web page. This was where I planned to build my site and a few other web projects I was working on. Since several projects were intended to fall under this one "umbrella" on the web, a specific domain name didn't seem necessary so I chose a nickname I was using back then.  Later when the domain moved, I kept it the same for everyone's convenience.

 

The domain WILL eventually change to something more sensible and the old domain will be forwarded. Probably in the next year or so.

 

7) "I would like to see pictures in some of the nooks and crannies, ie.. camera and instrument tunnels, elevator equipment etc.. if possible."

 

I have long strived to enter and photograph just those sorts of nooks and crannies, many photos are already online with many more to come. I am always mindful of trying to document these tight and out-of-the-way areas as I always regret overlooking them when I do not. Keep your eyes peeled as more nooks and crannies are on the way!

 

8) "I know the diagrams for the blast-door interlocks or the crib raise/lower sequencer logic wouldn't' be of interest to absolutely everyone, but they're golden to me!"

 

They are also of great interest to me! As there is precious little detailed information on the construction and precise function of the cribwork and other logic-driven systems like the interlocks and other parts of the system, I am always on the hunt for more information on anything about the inner workings of their component parts.

 

If you are interested in digging into the COBOL computer code for the non-classified sections of the missile guidance software, I have several thick documents on that subject in the works for future posting. Heavy stuff, but I know someone will find it interesting.  Actually, even for myself, there are some very interesting details about the Titan I in those documents if one is willing to dig for them.

 

9) In regards to what he would like to see more of, one reader responded: "Photos of sites after the military left. Also (if any exist) of the salvage operations, what was left after the initial salvage operations?"

 

This is definitely an area I would love to see more of myself as it has been very under-represented overall. I am certain that somewhere out there, collections of photos and even equipment salvaged from the sites still exist and I know we would all LOVE to see the salvage operations and what exactly was there before it was removed. 

 

I am literally BEGGING for anyone with information in this regard to contact me so that I might document it in pictures. Images taken before and during salvage are part of the greatest missing links to the operational sites and would be a tremendous addition to the history of the Titan I historical portrait.

 

I have some leads on this sort of thing I need to follow up on. Maybe someone can help me with this very elusive part of the Titan I history?

 

To wrap up, there were some great responses in the comments sections and in particular some very kind words from readers and gracious offers of help with web authoring (please contact me, I do have some need of assistance/advice with some of the redesign aspects of the site) and technical understanding of radio and electronic aspects of the weapon system (a section on guidance is planned and I could use technical consultancy on that for certain) and photo sharing and other materials.

 

Great thanks to everyone who responded and to all who enjoy the site and encourage me to continue work on this project.  Enjoy the update!


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