by Kevin May
The Cold War was a long time ago, but relics of the past still remain — and in Arizona, you can actually buy them.
Missile silos are underground bunkers that were built to implement — and withstand — atomic blasts. During the Cold War and in the years afterwards, 18 of these missile silos were built in Arizona, mostly in the area around Tucson. Up until the early 1980s, these sites were manned 24 hours a day and ready to launch a response to a nuclear attack at a moment’s notice. Today, they’re no longer in use. But some of them are for sale.
In a recent article, the Tucson Star gave an up close and personal look at the two decommissioned silos that are currently on the market for $495,000 each. Here’s what they had to say.
One of the silos is located on Arizona State Route 77. It’s being sold by a rancher named Grant Wilson who inherited the property from his father, who purchased it from the U.S. government in the mid-1980s. The silo hasn’t gotten much use since it was decommissioned, but it’s outfitted with security cameras and plenty of warning signs (though not enough to keep out trespassers, of which there are a few dozen a year).
The other silo is located just off Interstate 10 and includes 14 acres and plenty of beautiful views when you’re above ground. It’s owned by Edward Schlinger, a retired nuclear technician from the Palo Verde Generating Station. Though he’s ready to sell now, Schlinger has done what he could to maintain the integrity of the missile silo. It’s only been entered twice in the 35 years he’s owned it, and remains buried otherwise to keep out curious trespassers.
Buying a Missile Silo
So what’s the interior of a missile silo like? It depends on which one you visit. Since it has been relatively free from human use for the past four decades, Schlinger’s silo is like a preserved slice of history, complete with its original interior and even a (non-working) black rotary phone. Wilson’s silo on the other hand has seen a bit more use and isn’t quite as well preserved. As you might expect, neither are particularly homey, though they’re certainly fascinating.
Unfortunately, if you’re in the market for a decommissioned missile silo in Arizona you’re going to be up against a bit of competition. History buffs and real estate investors interested in relics from the past are quick to jump on these opportunities when they become available, and as of the time of publication, a potential buyer was interested in both silos, though neither had been taken off the market yet.
Of course, there are still a number of other silos in Arizona — though they’re not currently listed. If you want to be the first to know about them when and if they are, get in touch with an Arizona real estate agent who can keep his or her eye on the market. In the meantime, check out other Arizona properties for sale, and find a special place to call your own in the Grand Canyon State (even if it’s not a Cold War missile silo!).
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