Tag Archives: National Historic Site

Nuclear Secrets

Minuteman National Historic Site

Your intrepid travel blogger risking "deadly force" to uncover and document nuclear secrets.

Judging by how hard a time we had finding the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site you’d think its location is still a national secret. Directions from the National Parks Service lead you to a small building so cleverly hidden I drove by it, twice. Once inside, a park ranger hands me a photocopied map with directions to the actual minuteman missile silo. “You mean it’s not here?” I ask. “No, sir. Launch facility Delta-9 is located another 15 miles west.”

Back in the car, back on the highway, down a dirt road to a chain-link fence sporting a sign informing me that I’d likely be shot if I ventured inside. But while the sign said “no” the partially ajar gate said “yes.” So in I went.

I don’t know what I expected to find, but a Plexiglas covered hole in the middle of nowhere wasn’t exactly it. For something with so much destructive potential it seemed completely benign – even small and inconsequential. And yet the ground I stood on, with no other visible structure for miles around, was almost certainly a higher priority Soviet nuclear target than any city I’ve ever visited.

Hidden in plain sight, visitors can find the “Delta-9” missile by exiting South Dakota’s I-90 at 116 and heading south about a mile and a half. Just ignore the warning sign.

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