- The final chapter of
Groundskeeper Pete, a new video and holiday wishes to all who care
to receive them
Adventures of Groundskeeper Pete finally concludes its first
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
by illness and adversity, this final installment finally breaks
wind on the shores of the internet.
City video segment 1
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.
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.
you have trouble with the files I'd like to hear about it, perhaps
I can remedy the issue. Enjoy!
Royal City 2010, video segment 1 - (Low quality) (10min 8s -
78.7MB MP4 format)
Royal City 2010, video segment 1 - (Higher quality) (10min 4s -
318MB MPG format)
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
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.
- A Memorial, Spooky
Halloween update, a new Video, Titan I in Science Fiction and other news
News - Loss of a friend, inspiration, advisor and great historian
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.
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
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.
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.
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?
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.
am an idiot.
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.
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.
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.
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.
obituary can be found here
and you can share your memories of him or offer your condolences
to his family as well.
would like to talk a bit about Fred in his memory:
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
I will remember Fred for all his help, his generosity, his hard
work to document and preserve history and for his friendship.
you for everything Fred, I'll always remember you.
update now online
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.
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.
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.
another video! - New teaser video now online
may be wondering what makes this a Spooky Halloween Update.
it's the latest teaser video of course!
I will admit, that the "teasing" aspect may well come
from the fact that it may cause you to wish that:
I was a much better videographer
That I was possessed of a much better video camera
That there was much, much better lighting
you find the video to be spooky? Well, maybe...
any case, here is the new teaser video available for download in 2
Titan I video clip 2 - (Low quality) (4min 16s - 23.1MB MP4 format)
Titan I video clip 2 - (Higher quality) (4min 14s - 133MB MPG format)
can recommend an excellent and capable player which is both free
and available for PC, Mac and a host of other OSes:
Media Player Official web page
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.
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
I Fiction - Diamond Tide
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.
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:
is the first work of science fiction that incorporates a Titan I
complex into the story so I felt that more than justified its
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.
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.
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.
next time, best wishes and happy holidays!
- Where's Pete
been?? New update and more archive photos!
Self-destructs - Vexation Ensues
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.
files were fine, residing comfortably on another array and in
backups, they persisted unmolested. Unfortunately, I couldn't reach them to do any work!
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.
of the Machine - Server Reborn! Access Restored!
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.
now some good news
Archive has some new additions (finally) featuring
as-yet unseen photos of Titan I history. A new collection
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.
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.
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.
Help Greatly Appreciated
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:
you seen these men? Who the heck are 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
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.
- Minor update to
Missile Silos section I, Missing Images fixed in last update
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.
Omissions Spotted - Summarily Corrected
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
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
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.
you're waiting on the next Groundskeeper Pete segment, don't despair,
it is in the works along with other dubious projects.
- Groundskeeper Pete X
updated, XI released. Also: The Destruction of the Titans
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.
Pete Section XI is now online! See what Walter and I get
up to next as we scale to the top of silo #3!
now a bit of somber news:
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.
following images may shock you. They shocked me. Join
me in saying farewell to the fallen.
In Peace - Ellsworth 850-C (Sturgis, South Dakota)
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!
Down, 17 to Go
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.
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.
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.
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
the photos show the harsh reality: a site destroyed without any
thought or provision to preserving any shred of its history.
surely it won't happen again, right?
County's Fine Mess
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
first stop was to Lowry site 725-B, the Deertrail site.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
what was the outcome you ask? Rather a surprise it turns
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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 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...
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.
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
executive summary of events as I read them seem to be this:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
looks like they have already started digging, doesn't it?
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
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
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.
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.
Co. Letter to CDPHE
Services Awarded Titan 1 Missile Site Demolition
Maps - Lowry 725-C, 2012
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
any case, for now, 725-C is still there, but for how long?
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!
- Survey results,
Groundskeeper Pete continues, archive updates and more.
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
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
Pete Slogs on!
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.
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
anyone should encounter problems of any sort, please let me know
so I can get them fixed. Thanks!
List is Now in Effect
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".
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Titan I video clip (2min 13s - 37.8MB MP4 format)
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:
Media Player Official web page
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:
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
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)
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
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!
would like to address some comments and questions people had so
I'll run through them now:
"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?"
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.
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
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.
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
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!
"It's time to change those '40 years ago' references on
the front page to '50 years ago,' 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.
"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."
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.
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!
"I think the 3d walk through would be the greatest
addition to your site!"
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.
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
be possible to get the photos from the old 'Siloworld' site
integrated into this site?
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.
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.
not surprised by this question really, what surprises me is that
it hasn't been asked before. Here's the deal:
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.
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
domain WILL eventually change to something more sensible and the
old domain will be forwarded. Probably in the next year or so.
like to see pictures in some of the nooks and crannies, ie..
camera and instrument tunnels, elevator equipment etc.. if
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!
"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!"
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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?
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.
thanks to everyone who responded and to all who enjoy the site and
encourage me to continue work on this project. Enjoy the