Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Home sweet silo

Built at U.S. Government expense for several million dollars in the 1960s, a decommissioned Atlas E intercontinental ballistic missile silo in Kansas (3rd and 4th images, more photos here) was picked up by Edward and Dianna Peden for a mere $40,000 in the 1980s. They have been transforming the multi-level underground space (see schematics in this slideshow, blueprint and more photos here) ever since, making Subterra, as they call it, into a functional estate (18,000 sq. ft. structure on 34 acres of land) with the following accoutrements:
  • Plenty of high-ceilinged living space with living room in what used to be the missile control room, bedrooms, bathrooms, a large eat-in kitchen, home offices, and a laundry room
  • A drum circle room (1st image)
  • A greenhouse through which they enter the home
  • An enormous shop/garage
  • A sweat lodge, a stone circle, and a fire-walking pit
  • Castle turrets built over the escape hatches
  • A sun room with a hot tub
  • A landing strip (of use to Ed, who builds ultralights)
As the photos above show, they have countered the site's former nuclear capabilities with "an eclectic spirit of peace." They successfully raised 2 daughters at Subterra, though the girls sometimes asked, “Dad, why do we have to live in a hole in the ground?” Many might see only the downside of a windowless home, possible chemical contamination, and the lack of infrastructure (electrical power, water, and waste disposal) that is a consequence of its deliberately remote location. But some of the benefits of living in a missile silo are that it was built to withstand tornadoes, hailstorms, and wildfires (though it may be prone to flooding*), not to mention nuclear attack. The Peders are so proud of their silo home that they allow the public to tour Subterra - and to buy something similar through their real estate company 20th Century Castles: This has been the best investment of our lifetime, we love our home. We sold our first missile site in 1995 and as of January 2010, we have sold 49 of these properties.” But the best thing about the cavernous space, says Ed, are the acoustics when he plays his flute.

*A flooded silo in Texas is used for scuba diving lessons.

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