A couple of years ago, a friend of mine and I made the drive up to the North East Kingdom, where we hiked up an access road to East Mountain, where the Air Force abandoned a radar installation. Chad over on Obscure Vermont recently made the same hike, and took some fantastic pictures of the site:
It was the mid 1950s, and the United States and The Soviet Union were in the middle of the Cold War. The race was on, both nations already possessing enough fire power to wipe out most major cities – the ensuing radiation would take care of the rest. According to those in the know, if a nuclear bomb was dropped, the result would be an obliterating flash of light, brighter than a thousand suns.
Paranoia gripped the nation, and preventative measures were taken by the government. Vermont’s desolate Northeast Kingdom became one chosen location to detect and be an early warning against the end of the world.
The United States Air Force chose East Mountain, a 3,438 foot sprawling ridge line surrounded by some of the most remote wilderness in all of Vermont, to be the site of a radar base. Construction started in 1954, and by 1956 and 21 million dollars later, the North Concord Air Force Station was functional. The base was designed to provide early warning signs and protection from nuclear fall out, as well as sending information to Strategic Air Command Bases.
About 174 men lived in the base in a village of tin and steel Quonset Huts, situated on a mid mountain plateau surrounded by almost impenetrable bogs. Their job was to guard the radar ears, which resided in massive steel and tin towers on the summit of East Mountain – constantly straining to hear the first whines from Soviet bombers coming from the skies above. The giant buildings were topped with large inflatable white domes that protected the radars. The government spared no expense protecting the United States from a possible soviet attack. People were urged to build bomb shelters in their basements, school kids were taught to hide under their desks in case of a nuclear blast, and almost every town had a fallout shelter.
Read his entire post here.