This telephone was the last step in the chain of communication to issue an order to launch nuclear missiles towards airborne targets from Cuba. At one of a series of secret US Army surface to air and ballistic missile sites located to defend against a Soviet attack from the south, this phone is on the wall of one of the Nike Hercules missile storage barns.
The site is now within the Everglades National Park, not far from the serene boardwalk of the Anhinga Trail. The park service runs regular tours of the facility, about which surprisingly little detailed information is known.
I have other images of this facility, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. See them for additional detail and history about this site:
I grew up in South Florida. It’s a very eerie feeling knowing that while I was in 1st grade only 30 miles away, there were weekly incidents that this site was ready to respond to. For each of these incidents, the 35-foot missiles with nuclear tips at this site were pulled out of the barn and readied for launch, awaiting a call to this phone. These missiles, intended to take out air squadrons approaching the US from Cuba, had a nuclear yield of up to 40 kilotonnes (the Hiroshima bomb was 15). The cold war was truly a scary thing!
(Photomatix, 3 exposures, autobracketed, on a Canon 5D, handheld)
525 views as of 8/22/11