Fred Runner sent me a link to an ebay auction last week for an incredibly detailed 8x10 aerial photo of the Air Force Station on West Peak. Based on the stage of construction of the second radome and the cars parked near the boiler room, this image had to have been taken around 1963.
After acquiring the image and seeing the bizarre markings all over it I spent 3 days spotting it and cleaning it up. This is an extremely rare image of West Peak during the very beginning of the most intense part of the Cold War. I spent months looking for something like this during the production of the film and am extremely lucky to have finally found it. The image here is a not full resolution, and if you'd like to download the 14k full res file (with a crazy amount of detail), it's in this dropbox location.
There are quite a few fascinating things to note in this image.
- The location of the demolished Alpine Club's Cairn is evident, just above Ridgecrest, upslope of the main gate towards Building 402 (the long building with the Phase Array antennae around it that's below the main Radome area).
- The Radome area is still incomplete, with the base of the second radome complete but the radar not installed yet. Tremendous amount of structures in that area compared to the one long building that remains.
- The "Telco" building to the north of the Radome area has a big pole next to it. I'm still not sure what this building was used for in the 1950s, but it may have been an armory. Eventually AT&T leased it in the 1980s and used it as a switching station for quite awhile. The building still stands, unused.
- The heliport was not a heliport yet. It has another small building on it with a Phase Array antennae. Most likely these PA antennae were used to communicate with Picket Ships 200 miles out in the Pacific that had their own radar, extending the overall radar "vision" over the horizon.
- There's no pool yet (that was installed around 1960... hand-dug by the soldiers there), but there's a wall around an area that became the pool. Very odd.
- The radio shack on the far western portion of the station did not have a bowling alley attached to it yet. Note that the radio shack was way out there so that it wouldn't interfere with the radar.
- The motorcycle shed, below the north side of the parking lot , was complete. It took me forever to find out what this building was used for.
- Ridgecrest Rd. turns into a small dirt road just as it passes West Peak.
- The Tavern on East Peak had been torn down (fairly recently) and the Jeep Road from the East Peak parking lot up to the Fire Tower was still in use.
- There is evidence of a trail leading up from the Northside Trail in the vicinity of Collier Spring to the area of the helipad.