Monday, March 16, 2015

Cannonball Relay Tower and AT&T Facility Near Mercersburg PA.

The Text Content on Page 1 of The Hagerstown Morning Herald, July 25, 1977 is: 

Cannonball Tower on Cross Mt. PA
That silo isn’t for cattle

To the casual observer driving down Maryland Route 67 southwest of Boonsboro, the distant object on lop of South Mountain looks like a farmer’s silo.

Closer inspection would reveal that it is indeed a silo, but not the kind used to store cattle feed. This particular silo belongs to the US Navy and is one of at least three similar Top Secret Navy facilities in the Tri-State area. Two other silos are located atop mountain ridges in Pennsylvania and in West Virginia. Just what goes on inside the silos the Navy isn’t saying? 

After repeated requests to the Navy for information on silos spokesman Ron Black gave this reply, “No information can be released its classified”.

According to residents of the area the Boonsboro silo was built sometime during the late 1960s. Like the others it is served by a narrow but a small road complete with guard rails. Although the Boonsboro silo is still in daily use the one located on Cross Mountain just inside the Pennsylvania state line north of Mercersburg was open earlier this year. The high chain link fence surrounding it has been ripped down and a heavy steel blast door leading into the silo was ajar recently. The silo is equipped with an elevator to each of its eight floors.  Although much of the equipment inside has obviously been removed, much remains... Heavy air conditioning equipment, air filters and electrical panels are still in place.  In an apparent effort to blast proof the equipment the panels arc mounted on heavy springs with coiled wire lo take up movement. The silo apparently housed offices.  On the ceilings are fluorescent lamps. The floors are tiled.

Whatever goes on inside the silos it is not related to the Alternate National Military Command Center near Blue Summit Pa.?  Sources at the Pentagon responsible for The Rock say they do not know anything about the Navy silos.

AT&T Site on Hearthstone Mt. in MD.

The Text Content on Page 1 of The Hagerstown Morning Herald, July 25, 1977 is: 
Arial view of AT&T on Hearthstone Mt. looking at the ridge line
 to Cross Mt.and Cannonball Tower
Hello, Hello
If there ever is a nuclear war restoring the nation’s telephone network might be one of the first orders of business.
That’s one of the reasons why American Telephone and Telegraph Co has buried a telephone switching station high atop Hearthstone Mountain four miles north of Clear Spring and just two miles from the Navy’s silo on Cross Mountain. 
Although it’s not as secret as some government facilities around the area officials explain that the installation is designed to withstand the effects of a nearby nuclear blast. 
The station which consists of 70000 square feet in a two and a half story underground building is made of concrete.
The delicate telephone gear inside is mounted on shock absorbers and the outside antennas about the only thing visible from a distance are en-cased in concrete pods
Access to the building is gained huge steel blast doors.  Like other hardened sites the station has its own food and water supply.  Filtering would remove nuclear particles from the air in the event of an attack.
 The Hearthstone station is one of 65 around the world that provides routine telephone global com for the US military.
 According to operations manager Bruce Parr the station normally handles only military traffic and in a busy hour it can relay thousands of telephone messages. But the equipment inside the station is standard telephone switching gear and Parr says it could be used to handle emergency or commercial traffic. Two other underground stations are also located in the area. One is at Monrovia in Frederick County and the other at Drainsville, VA near the Maryland, West Virginia and Virginia borders.
Parr says Hearthstone was picked as a site primarily because of its high elevation a, factor vital to reliable microwave communications. The 5.5 million dollar facility was built in the mid-1960s and is manned 24 hours a day by about 30 people according to Parr.
 He says doesn’t pretend that nobody knows where or what the station is but he explains that the facility is not open to the public for “safety and for the protection of the personnel who work here”.                                                                     

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