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Bombs Away: What Happened to 12 Former Missile Silos in the North Country 

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Originally published June 27, 2006.

In the 1960s, the Army Corps of Engineers constructed 12 intercontinental ballistic missile sites in a ring around the Air Force base in Plattsburgh — two in Vermont, 10 in New York. The military was scrambling to counter the nuclear threat from the Soviet Union, and they spared no expense. Each site cost between $14 and $18 million to build, and could withstand a direct nuclear attack. Several workers died during the construction.

These Atlas F launch sites were some of the country’s first underground silos, and they’re still the only U.S. missile bases ever constructed east of the Mississippi River. They had a short shelf life, active only from the fall of 1962 until the spring of 1965 — but they left a lasting impression on the landscape. Now, instead of weapons, they hold strange tales of accidental death, contamination and good, old-fashioned American ingenuity.

These stories, like the launch sites themselves, are not easy to find. In a region speckled with a multitude of historical markers, just one lonesome sign — in Alburgh, Vermont — commemorates one of the sites.



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About The Author

Cathy Resmer

Cathy Resmer

Bio:
Cathy Resmer is a former staff writer and currently an associate publisher at Seven Days, and is one of the organizers of the Vermont Tech Jam. She's also the Copublisher and Executive Editor of Kids VT, Seven Days' free monthly parenting publication.

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