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Missile Silo House

“My name is Edward Peden and I live in a decommissioned missile base.”

This is how Ed greeted us as we entered his home in Dover, Kansas. At first glance, it’s obvious that Ed is no warmonger. His long haircut and personal style speak to a more relaxed attitude in life. And yet he lives in the Cold War – and when we say in, we mean it literally!

Ed isn’t looking to cling to a life of military aggression by living in a missile base – instead, he’s converted what was once a piece of the military industrial complex into one of the nicest homes in .

America. He purchased the thirty-seven-acre Atlas E Missile Base of Dover in 1982, and spent the next twelve years converting its silo into 6,000 square feet of luxury living space for his family. One of the first places we stopped on Ed’s tour of the premises was his garage. The average American garage is approximately 400 square feet. Ed’s is nearly 3,000

“There was an Atlas missile here,” he told us. “Every home should have one, right? This 47 ton door would open and they could back a large semi truck in here with a missile, and then them missile that was lying horizontal here would be drawn upward, erected, and then it would be fueled, ready for launch.”

The missile that was once housed in Ed’s garage was over seven stories tall and ten times more powerful than the atomic bombs dropped on Japan.

“The taxpayers spent 25 million dollars here,” Ed told us in regards to the cost to the government of building his eventual home. “And 25 million dollars in 1960 dollars is a little different than we think of today. I bought the thing for 40 thousand.”

Now that’s buying at the right time!

Ed continued his tour. “There’s probably 10, 15 feet of earth over us here,” he said as we entered another room. “So we’re really in the ground. This was the launch control room. It’s now our living room. We pretend to have windows.”

Ed continued, although he became less lighthearted as he spoke of his living room being the former site of a room that could have literally triggered Armageddon.

“This was a very serious room. There were three Air Force personnel in this room around the clock, twenty-four seven, for the four years the site was active. And these people were prepared and capable of launching that rocket to go halfway around the earth and kill a million people.”

Ed paused. “So, the energy of this room is pretty serious.”

There are many differences between silo living and regular life.

“We take the garbage up, and we mow the roof,” Ed joked with us. But there are also more serious variables one must take into account before moving into a giant bunker. “Down here we are managing the air, we have a large dehumidification system that air conditions and filters the air and does a very nice job of air quality down here.”

There are issues with the water, as well. “There are some chemicals in the ground water around the property. The U.S. government is taking complete responsibility for that and doing some remediation.” He paused, and then smiled. “It’s still costing them money.”

Ed Peden’s success at living in the silo has led to him co-founding the website www.missilebases.com. Here, he sells similar properties throughout the country. So if you’re looking to excavate, remodel, and eventually live in a subterranean remnant of our nuclear past, Ed can help.

At the end of the day, while it’s quite strange, Ed’s missile base is a perfect place to raise a family. It’s huge, spread out, and most of all, safe. Even in an environmentally volatile area of the country such as Kansas.

“This was rated to withstand a single mega ton air burst about a mile from the structure,” Ed told us. “We don’t feel very worried about tornadoes.”

Weird Kansas

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