Corvetters Go Underground
October 14, 2014 by Janice Burkhead
Cool autumn temperatures did nothing to deter an adventurous group of 32 CCKC members in 17 Corvettes on October 4th. Always seeking the next thrill over the next hill, the gutsy group set out to explore a decommissioned underground Atlas E missile base silo‐turned‐family‐home in Dover, Kansas, near Topeka. Yes, the space that housed a 4 megaton thermonuclear warhead during the Cold War now is the place its owners call “Home Sweet Home.” Now retired, schoolteacher Ed Peden and his wife Dianna bought the property in 1983 but didn’t actually take up residence for another 10 years. In the early 1960s, taxpayers paid $25 million for the property. The Pedens bought it for about $40,000, and eventually renovated it and raised their two daughters in the silo home.
Ed gave CCKC members an interesting and instructive tour, beginning with the 3,000 square‐foot “garage,” where the warhead previously resided and which now holds Ed’s expansive collections of what can only be described as “stuff.” Next, Ed took the tour group through a 120‐foot tunnel to the home’s living space, which comprises some 6,000 square feet. The home includes two kitchens, living areas, bedrooms, an office and bathrooms. He also built a greenhouse area above ground which lets in the only bit of light. The entrance to the home holds a control panel similar to the original missile control, as well as a selection of historic memorabilia. The tour ends in the room that’s clearly a favorite for the Pedens and their friends: A gathering place complete with colorful hanging fabrics, rich carpets, drums and other percussion instruments, enough for a party. Ever game, the CCKC group sat in the drum circle and enthusiastically took part in Ed’s impromptu performance. Some pretty good bongo‐bangers in the group! Finally emerging from the underground, the group took a short drive in the sunshine to enjoy lunch at the Sommerset Hall Café in Dover.