ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE) – There’s a piece of Cold War history just east of Roswell, New Mexico, and one businessman wants to make it into an attraction.
You won’t be able to spot it from the road very easily. It’s a missile silo that once housed an intercontinental ballistic missile beginning in 1962 under the Atlas F project.
More shocking, there were once 12 of these missile silos surrounding Roswell where Walker Air Force Base once stood. Each silo cost $22 million to build, and there were 72 constructed for the project throughout the whole U.S.
“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.”
Purchasing two of the silos 25 years ago for $55,000 a pop, Baker turned one of them into his home. The other is still under renovation.
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?”
In the ’90s, the missiles were salvaged and 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, there was only about 100 feet 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. What stood between crew members and a possible deadly explosion was a few inches of steel and a couple feet of concrete.
Baker never thought of turning it into an Airbnb, but wanted to share with everyone the history of the silos. His original plan was to turn it into a museum but then he decided on the bed and breakfast instead. The Airbnb has only been open for the last year.
Baker loves telling the story of the site with everyone who comes and stays. “It has nothing to do with the money. We enjoy what we do,” he said.
The fee for the evening ranges between $400 and $500.