Monday, June 27, 2022

Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile State Historic Site

In the early 1960s 150 Minuteman II missile and silo bases were built in North Dakota. The Midwest was chosen for the bases because of the low population, the room to widely separate the bases from each other, and the ability to launch the missiles over the Arctic to targets in Russia. The bases were closed and the missiles sent elsewhere after the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty was signed by the United States and the Soviet Union in 1991. There are still 15 manned launch control facilities and 150 Minuteman III missile silos in North Dakota.

The base has two separate units - the Launch Control Center consisting of  above ground support buildings and below ground capsules housing the equipment for monitoring and launching missiles, and the Launch Facility, located 5 miles away, which housed the missile. Both the above ground and below ground buildings at the Launch Control Center are opened to guided tours. The Launch Facility has been decommissioned. The missile was removed, the site cleaned, and the hole filled. Interpretive signs are located on the site which is a gravel pad surrounded by chain link fence.


The support buildings were remodeled in the 1970s to include a TV room and a game room. Personal were on duty 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and consisted of an eight-person security and maintenance team, a manager, chef, and other support members. Two-member missile crews worked 24 hour shifts underground while they monitored the missiles and awaited orders.

The Launch Control Center is totally accessible inside but there's a high threshold and a heavy door at the entrance. The gravel at the Launch Facility may make pushing difficult.

The Launch Control Center has a small parking lot where RVs will fit but turning around an RV with a towed vehicle may be difficult. The Launch Facility has a narrow road that does not have room to turn around so backing out is the only option. Missile Site  47.49739, -98.1272


  1. So strange to think about all this now -- all those missile silos and bases built way back when, and some even active today. I'd like to tour one of these.

    1. It's a bit scary when you see how many missile sites are still active. Interesting tour though.