The Ultimate Man Cave? Try a North Dakota Missile Silo

When the Pioneers head to Grand Forks to face North Dakota hockey team this weekend, there may be some Fighting Hawk fans watching the game of top 10 contenders while comfortably ensconced in their missile silos.

According to Web Urbanist homeowners can acquire a decommissioned missile silo or nuclear base in good repair at a decent price. Missile Silo owners Edward and Dianna Peden originally purchased their former Atlas E ICBM Site for around $40,000 in the 1980s.

Why would anyone want to live in an old missile silo? With blast proof walls and steel doors, these relics are the best construction government money can buy. Then there’s the feeling of security that comes with living in a structure built to withstand tornadoes, hailstorms, wildfires and the odd Soviet preemptive nuclear strike. The subterranean structures also shield the owners from North Dakota's inhumane, sub-freezing temperatures. Home handyman types will find little to do besides changing light bulbs.

Most nuclear missile sites comprise much more than the actual missile silo. Underground control complexes connected to the silo by tunnels provide long-term living facilities (kitchens, bathrooms etc.) and these are the portions most often chosen for home conversion.

Stanley R. Mickelsen home in Nekoma, North Dakota

Some  missile bases that were abandoned for years may have a number of maintenance issues any new owner must deal with such as flooding, mold and structural settling. Got a sticky set of two-foot thick blast doors? That’ll require more than just a few shots of WD40. These sites are intentionally located in some of the most remote areas of an already remote state. Prime sites are becoming difficult to find. Many of the newer bases built in the early 1960s are being destroyed by the government due to international treaty obligations while the older sites from the 1950s are steadily rising in value.

A 2008 Bismarck Tribune article discussed the marketing of former missile launch sites in northeastern North Dakota. Up for sale were 15 missile launch control facilities in northeastern North Dakota that were part of the 321st Missile Wing at Grand Forks Air Force Base. Each facility controlled 10 Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missiles aimed at the Soviet Union. The end of the Cold War meant the deactivation of the missile wing and the removal of the 150 Minuteman III missiles in northeastern North Dakota. The launch control facilities and missile silos were decommissioned and were vacant for about a decade.

One 30 acre missile base reportedly sold for listed at $40,000. It included a one-story, 7,000-square-foot building with seven bedrooms and three baths. "It was real reasonable, dirt cheap," said the buyer. It also included a detached garage that can accommodate vehicles up to 12 feet tall.

A missile site: the ultimate man cave.


Eric Burton said...

The only missile silos left are in the area of the Minot Air Force Base. The old ones were basically torn out of the ground and filled in with dirt. We have a few of these sites around the area my hunting shack and all that is left is a fence with gravel. There are a few of the buildings that the missile crews stayed at when they were in the field.

Puck Swami said...

Missile silos are way cool. Would love to own one.

5BWest said...

Eric is correct. Most recent silos have been decommissioned and filled with sand/dirt. Still, you can pick up a lived-in missile silo and above ground missile assets are still available. You may even find some oil, too!