By Carly-Ann Anderson
December 9, 2015
Built in 1962 as a Minuteman 1 site, Quebec #1 was re-purposed for the Peacekeeper Missile in 1986 and was used until 2005. Twenty-five miles north of Cheyenne, this facility will eventually be the only one of its kind left in the world, which is why Wyoming State Parks, Historic Sites, and Trails is seeking to add the site to its system. House Bill 0195, sponsored by Representatives Wilson, Allen, Barlow, and Senator Emerich, has passed the House and is headed to the Senate for approval. With this Bill, the Quebec-01 missile site could be ready for visitors as soon as 2018. This site, which will be managed by Wyoming State Parks and Cultural Resources, is expected to have up to 80,000 visitors a year, each paying a fee of $8.
The US Air Force is required to dismantle the Peacekeeper Missile sites, but may keep one for "interpretive and educational purposes." The Quebec #1 site provides not only an opportunity to interpret the Cold War and the role of FE Warren Air Force base in the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile System, but also lends itself to talking about engineering (the underground components were constructed to withstand a nearby nuclear blast), technology (these are very advanced missile systems), gender history (women weren't allowed to serve as missileers until the late 1980s and this facility had to be updated to accommodate them), and Wyoming's long military history.
Thanks in part to AHW members contacting their legislators, the Wyoming Legislature passed Senate Enrolled Act 0044 in February of 2015. The act explored the Quebec #1 MAF becoming a state historic site, a process involving negotiations between the U.S. Air Force and the Division of State Parks, Historic Sites and Trails. A Programmatic Agreement between the State Historic Preservation Office and the U.S. Air Force has been signed with the Alliance for Historic Wyoming as a concurring party. HB0195 is the next step in this process.
The modest rectangular building looks a bit like a large ranch-style home, but the large air handling equipment gives it away as something more. Boarded up against the elements and vandals, this facility housed security forces during their time at the MAF. The structure also conceals the equipment below ground.
The heart of this site rests below ground behind an 8-ton blast door. The control center is accessed by descending several stories on a metal ladder into what feels like a submarine. The MAF acted as a control center for a network of Peacekeeper missiles and missileers would have "pulled alert" for 48 hours at a time in the control chamber, manning desks of computers and monitoring a variety of relevant information. These missiles, which were only deployed in Wyoming, are credited with ending the Cold War.
Click here to read the Quebec #1 Site Criteria Evaluation Report from 2013.
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