ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s a piece of Cold War-era history just east of Roswell and now one businessman wants to make it into an attraction. It’s something you won’t be able to spot from the road very easily. It’s the Cold War-era missile silo that once housed an intercontinental ballistic missile under the Atlas F project beginning in 1962.
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More shocking, there were once 12 of these missile silos surrounding Roswell when Walker Air Force Base once stood. Each silo cost $22 million to build and throughout the whole U.S., there were 72 constructed for this project.
“It held an intercontinental ballistic missile with a 4-megaton warhead on her,” said Gary Baker, the current owner of two missile silos in Roswell. “It took barely two and half years to build them and two years to operate them.”
In the ’90s, the missiles were salvaged and the parts of the silo were used for other programs, essentially destroying any knowledge of the once ambitious project. Throughout the Atlas F project, four silos malfunctioned and were destroyed by the missiles they harbored. Luckily, no crew was injured or killed. Three of those explosions occurred in Roswell.
To put that into perspective, from the center of the silo where the missile and its lift were housed to the center of the control room where the crew operated was 100 feet. What stood between crew members and a possible deadly explosion was a few inches of steel and a couple of feet of concrete.
Purchasing two of the silos 25 years ago for $55,000 a pop, Baker turned one of them into his home. The others are still under renovation. He’s shares the history of these silos and how they made an impact on his life growing up in Roswell.
Baker used to play in them in the ’70s when he attended the New Mexico Military Institute. “Can you imagine playing in these things and then taking it a little further?”
Baker never thought of turning it into an Airbnb but wanted to share with everyone the history of them. His original plan was to turn it into a museum but decided on the bed and breakfast. The Airbnb has only been open for the last year.
He loves telling the story of the site with everyone who comes and stays. “It has nothing to do with the money. It has nothing to do with the money, we enjoy what we do.”
You can stay the night in the silo by booking reservations on the Airbnb website. The fee for the evening is between $400 to $500.