Sunday, January 9, 2011

government road

In a moment of geek last week (yeah, I have them sometimes) I was playing with GoogleEarth and getting a bird's-eye-view
of Key West.
I found my current house, the last three places I've lived since I've been on the rock and traced the route I run on my bike workouts which led me to a look at the airport and that's when I found Government Road.
Now, I've always known that Government Road was there but, in all my years here, hadn't taken the time to go down it.
"Hmmm" I thought; a corner of Cayo Hueso I haven't explored; we just can't have that!

Government Road is a paved business that runs (I'm guessing here) about a half mile through mostly undeveloped natural nice-ness and parallel to Key West International across the salt marsh.

At the close end is Little Hamaca City Park and at the far end the road ends at a paintball battlefield. But it was the ruins I discovered in between that piqued my interest.

"What's all this then" I asked myself. Remains of radar towers (lots of them), concrete buildings big enough to warehouse Sherman tanks and something that looked to me
like a bunker.

That's when the light came on. . .
A military installation that just could date back to the
Cuban Missile Crisis.

In October of 1962 I was 10 years old and even though I have real memories of those days, the concepts of naval blockades, evil communists and nuclear armageddon were fairly abstract. I'm not even sure I knew a place called Key West existed.

Anyway, back home later in the day, I did a little homework and sure enough, here was one of the four firing batteries built to defend Key West if the situation between Kennedy and Khrushchev got out of hand.

It's a pretty amazing story actually. . .
On Oct. 20th, 1962 the 6th Battalion's 65th Artillery Unit and their low altitude defense missiles were ordered to move from Fort Meade, Maryland to Key West and in only 9 days, the troops and missiles were deployed and all four firing batteries were operational. (pretty damned quick)

Judging from the map, I'm guessing these are the ruins of Bravo Battery.

So it appears that Key West was loaded for bear in those days. It's got me wondering how weird it could get around here if the United States actually does decide to invade Venezuela.

1 comment:

RumShopRyan said...

Thanks for showing us an "off the beaten path" look at Key West. The island is small but is seems there is always something else to explore.