Tag Archives: subterra castle

HIWAY AMERICA – Titan Missile Silo, Topeka Kansas



Titan Missile Silo


Missile Silo Map



Tunnel to the front door of the command bunker home.

Subterra Castle: Missile Silo Home

Field review by the editors.

Shawnee County,Kansas

Ed Peden finally got his garage door to open. It took him 25 years, but it weighs 47 tons, and the vehicle that was parked behind it was a 78-foot-long Atlas E missile, topped with an atomic bomb. The door was designed to withstand the blast from a nuclear explosion.

Ed’s door, and his home, are in an abandoned underground missile launch complex roughly 25 miles outside of Topeka, Kansas. He and his wife Dianna were the first people to turn one of these Cold War doomsday bunkers into a livable home, and they now run a business helping others to do the same. It cost Uncle Sam $4 million to build this place; Ed bought it for $40,000. But it needed some work.

Ed Peden in his missile launch complex.

“The gunk I hauled out of here in wheelbarrows was incredible,” Ed tells us. “Hundreds of wheelbarrows of crap. The sheet rock had melted onto the floor.” It had dissolved because the entire complex was flooded with up to nine feet of water. Ed first toured his future home in a canoe.

The Pedens now call their place “Subterra Castle,” and it looks nothing like the abandoned hellhole Ed bought in 1982.

To the south is the vast missile launch bay, now empty, with its 18-inch-thick concrete walls, three-foot-thick concrete floors, and balky garage door. “It makes an excellent shop,” Ed tells us, “but it caused me to collect far too much useless junk.”

The massive powered door Ed restored to working condition.

A large square hole in the floor leads to a gently sloping “flame pit” the size of a freeway tunnel. It directed the launch inferno from the missile down to a hillside exhaust port. We suggest to Ed that it would make a good skate park, and his eyes light up. “Yes! Skateboarders!” he cries, beaming like a pleased schoolteacher — which is what he was when he bought this place — “You captured that concept quickly!”

Jutting north from the launch bay is a 120-foot-long tunnel of steel and concrete. It leads to the other half of the Peden home, the former launch control center, which is where Ed and Dianna live. “Down here it’s a little more pleasant,” Ed says as he opens a simple wood door with a tiny knocker.

The drum circle room, after a reality show makeover.

Beyond — is a warm cocoon of good vibes and New Age ambience. The Cold War vanishes, replaced with natural fibers, rustic wood, rattan, rugs, tapestries, and stained glass. Incense flavors the air; native flutes trill softly over hidden loudspeakers. Ed explains that his home attempts to counter the “heavy energy” of the missile silo, and that he views it as “a transformational symbol.”

“I’m really kind of a peacenik from the sixties,” he confesses with a sheepish grin. Subterra Castle can be seen as the Earth Children flipping the bird to the military-industrial complex — or something similarly profound. To us, it’s just amazing. Who wouldn’t want to live in a hole in the ground when it can be this much fun?

Ed shows us all the rooms converted to make the space livable — a large eat-in kitchen, home offices, a laundry room and bathrooms. Then he takes us back to what he calls “the very best, favorite, favorite room” in the whole underground warren — the former diesel generator room, a huge space that Ed and Dianna have converted into a drum circle room. “Sometimes we’ll have 20, 25 people playing the drums and shakers, and then sitting and chatting for a while,” Ed tells us. In fact, when we called to confirm our visit the previous evening, Dianna told us that Ed was otherwise occupied. He was back in the drum circle room, smackin’ the rawhide or playing one of his native flutes.

Hippie dippy digs for overnight lodgers.

Ed calls these old launch complexes “20th century castles,” equating them to the medieval castles of Europe, and has in fact built castle towers over the old escape hatches of his underground home. But that decision was practical as well as thematic; the hatches were leaking and the towers keep the water out. Also on the property, inside the intruder detection perimeter and within view of the battlements, is a sweat lodge, a stone circle, and a fire walking pit.

Ed and Dianna in front of Subterra Castle.

One gets the sense that Ed stresses the castle metaphor to sell properties to the security-minded (and his video system keeps tabs on various locations, including the front gate). But his heart remains in the drum circle room.

“It’s a very strange project that we’ve done here,” he tells us. “It’s been a life-defining thing for Dianna and I. And we are very proud of it, and we think there’s kind of a message in it. I feel incredibly blessed and fortunate to ever, ever have stumbled onto such a thing.”

And then the practical Ed creeps back. “I don’t know what it’s gonna be like to get old out here,” he says. “I’ve got to climb twenty feet up to change the light bulbs in the missile bay.”

Also, if you need any further evidence that our species is doomed, take a look at the quantity of missile types we’ve developed. We are idiots


counterculture,alternative news,art


Share something you learned everyday!

Under the Counterculture

Where dead fingers type

John Walters

thoughts on writing, travel, and literature

jsb: Getting Healthy

Holistic Wellness: Your Health, Your Life, Your Choice

Formentera Blues

Back to the island...

Revolutionary Musings

My everyday thoughts as they come to me

The Godly Chic Diaries


Allegra Sleep Fine Art

Taos, New Mexico

deep fotografie

deep fotografie

Be ▲rtist - Be ▲rt Magazine



the world of art

Psychedelic Traveler

Your psychedelic travel guide around the globe


Just another WordPress.com weblog

Welcome To My World

A World Where Fantasies Are Real And Dreams Do Come True

PT Boat Red

The WWII US Navy career of my father, Red Stahley, PT boat radioman.

All Thoughts Work™ Outdoors 5

Hiking with snark in the beautiful Pacific Northwest 2014 - 2018

In the Zone

Photos, art, and a little bit of lit....

power of h Weblog

I wish I'd been born seven hours earlier

Paint Your Landscape

A Journey of Self-Discovery & Adventure

India Destinations

Exploring Best Indian Destinations for You

Before Sundown

remember what made you smile


Comics und andere Werke des Künstlers Denis Feuerstein


Bit of this, bit of that

Rants, Raves and Random Thoughts

Diary of a Shipwrecked Alien


Music In The Key Of See


Fe2O3.nH2O photographs


Jon Wilson’s 1920’s and 1930’s - a unique time in our history.


photography and other things

Bohemian Butterfly

Beautiful gardens, garden art and outdoor living spaces

Art by Ken

The works and artistic visions of Ken Knieling.

Canadian Art Junkie

Visual Arts from Canada & Around the World

andrei plimbarici

Calatorind Descoperi

Edward R. Myers Photography

Captured moments of life as I see it

Kathy Waller

~ Telling the Truth, Mainly


Historian. Artist. Gunmaker.

On The Road Again: Touring The USA On A Moto Guzzi Breva

Over 80,000 Miles Of the USA on a Moto Guzzi Breva 750.

Cavalcade of Awesome

All Pax. All Nude. All the Time.


Welcome to My World......


Poetry, story and real life. Once soldier, busnessman, grandfather and Poet.

Gypsy Road Trip

Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

All Thoughts Work™ Outdoors

Hiking with snark in the beautiful Pacific Northwest 2011 - 2013



%d bloggers like this: