Bunker Living

Definitely not an inspiring designer, yet idiosyncratic enough, former Topeka high school teacher Ed Peden turned to real estate mogul specialized in selling off abandoned missile bases.

In 1982, Peden drove out to investigate a decommissioned nuclear missile bunker that was up for sale near his hometown of Topeka, Kansas. He found 34 acres of grass in need of mowing and, deep below ground, an 18,000-square-foot warren of concrete tunnels, most of it flooded with rainwater.

Peden stripped to his shorts and dropped a rope ladder into the flooded base. Most of the rooms were three-quarters flooded, and the water had stagnated for nearly two decades. Holding his nose to dive under doorways between the flooded rooms, Peden took his first tour of what would soon become his family home.

The entrance to the bay…
… where once the Atlas E missile was housed and stored horizontally. To ready the missile for firing, the bay’s roof was retracted and the missile lifted into a vertical position. It was then fueled and prepped for launch. This design didn’t last long, as it became apparent that too much time was lost preparing the missile for action.
Blueprint of an Atlas E missile bay.
Ed Peden’s tunnels lead to his living space, on the left, and into his cavernous garage, on the right.
A photograph of an Atlas E ICBM, the type of nuclear missile stored at Ed’s house in the ’60s, today domesticated and donwsized to a…
The upstairs dining room-where the diesels that powered the site used to live – is a gathering place for the Pedens and their friends lit with chandeliers, hung with delicate fabrics and covered in richly colored carpets.


The highlight of the house is the spiritual room, formerly the missile control room. Three men manned the controls 24/7 between 1961 and 1965. Now, very deliberately, it’s filled with spiritual artifacts from all over the world because of its “heavy energy.”

Notwithstanding the spiritual efforts of the Pedens and their friends, can’t stop wondering about their two daughters who grew up in the bunker, learning to ride their bikes on the extensive underground driveways…

Read the whole story herePhotos: Jim Merithew/Wired.com


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