Old nuclear missile silo near Spokane steeped in dark history
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UFO tracker Peter Davenport patrols the cavernous former missile silo he purchased from the U.S. government. (Erik Lacitics / The Seattle Times)

UFO INVESTIGATOR. National UFO Reporting Center Director Peter Davenport has investigated UFO reports for over 50 years. His interest in UFO investigation began when he was a child.

SEATTLE — In profiling Peter Davenport and his National UFO Reporting Center, there is something else that is part of his life, and it has little to do with alien spacecraft.

Davenport owns one of the nine decommissioned Atlas E nuclear missile silos in this state, all near Fairchild Air Force Base by Spokane.

“For some reason, I always wanted to own a nuclear silo,” he says.

The one that Davenport bought in 2006 for $100,000 is in the little town coincidentally named Davenport in Lincoln County.

He keeps a few file cabinets with UFO paperwork in the 18,000-square-foot underground concrete structure. Mostly, this dank, dark silo that’s been stripped of most of its equipment is a reminder that our worries about Russia go back decades. Putin is just the latest incarnation.

Davenport’s silo has become part of local lore because of what happened there 20 years ago.

A state tax auditor was shot inside it on June 12, 2002, his body dismembered. Body parts later were found near Cheney, some 40 miles away. Police turned up 320 pieces of evidence, according to the Spokane Historical Society.

Ralph H. Benson, who had been living in the silo and died in 2004 in prison, was convicted of first-degree murder. The tax auditor, Roger Erdman, had gone to the silo to inspect Benson’s business records to determine whether he was delinquent.

Davenport originally moved from Seattle to the wheat-growing area with the thought of living in the silo.

He changed his mind about living in the silo.

“I didn’t want to be out there by myself, thought of as some weirdo who collects UFO reports and lives in a missile silo,” he says.

Instead, Davenport bought a manufactured home in Harrington, 14 miles away.

The silo is part of our Cold War history.

There were nine Atlas E silos; each held one 82-foot-long missile equipped with a four-megaton nuclear warhead, the fireball enough to destroy downtown Seattle in a 3-mile radius. The Atlas E had a range of 8,700 miles, enough to reach the Soviet Union.

In addition, there were three Titan I complexes near Larson Air Force Base at Moses Lake, each complex housing missiles in three interconnected silos. That made for a total of 18 ICBMs in this state.

Source: The Columbian

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