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Jim Kershner’s This day in history

From our archives, 50 years ago

Well, there’s little doubt that by 1960 the Cold War had become entrenched. There were stories about American U-2 pilot Gary Powers, who was sentenced to 10 years by a Soviet tribunal for espionage; stories about Russian scientists observing animals they blasted into space aboard a satellite; and stories about Soviet athletes and the upcoming Olympic Games in Rome.

But a few pages back was this Spokesman-Review headline: “Deer Park’s Atlas Base Is Massive.” The Atlas base – an intercontinental ballistic missile site – was nearing completion. It was one of nine such facilities in the region, all manned by members of the 567th strategic missile squadron out of Fairchild Air Force Base.

As the article noted, the underground facility was “massive” and “clean.” In fact, the author contended, “A Spokane housewife would be hard-pressed to match the spick-n-span condition of the underground buildings.”

The other ICBM sites were in Newman Lake, Rockford, Croskey (near Sprague), Lamont (east of Odessa), Bluestem (south of Davenport), Wilbur, Egypt (south of Miles), and Crescent (north of Reardan). The sites were closed in 1965.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1977: The U.S. launched Voyager 2, an unmanned spacecraft carrying a 12-inch copper record containing greetings, samples of music and sounds of nature.