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Ex-broker bunkers down for real

An ex-stockbroker from Chicago has transformed a former missile silo into a residential safe haven.

Back in the 1960s, the place, which Bruce Townsley purchased 12 years ago, used to be a launch site for a nuclear rocket that could travel 6 thousand miles. Today, Townsley is a member of a whole community of similar missile site owners.

The silo, preserved for almost half a century, is still impressively intact. “You wouldn't be here today had we [fired that missile], and I probably wouldn't be here either. I can't imagine what our world would be like, had the missile gone out of this hole,” says Rodger Jensen who used to work at its launch control center.

Nowadays, the silo provides room for a tomato garden and a home gym, among other things. It also boasts a 75-ton operational missile door – a feature that makes Townsley particularly proud. Remnants of the silo’s original design permeate the residence, giving it a somewhat “futuristic” look. There is, for instance, an escape shaft right above the kitchen and an exhaust shaft to seal the air system inside if the site were attacked.

Yet Townsley knows how to find joy in all the peculiarities of his home. “One of the things I like best about living here is that it is really quiet, which makes sleeping really pleasant and easy. I don't really think too much about living in a missile silo, which used to be a military installation.”

In addition, the silo also happens to be an attraction not only for the curious visitors, but also for vandals, who have left graffiti on its walls over the last 40 years. Thus, ironically, regardless of the fact that it was a former launch site, Townsley still had to install surveillance cameras to protect his abode.