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Newspaper article about AT&T Medina, OH hardened site

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  • Albert LaFrance
    New list member Sharon Ghamari-Tabrizi found the following (remarkably accurate) article about the Medina L-carrier main station. Albert ... Plain Dealer
    Message 1 of 11 , Nov 14, 2007
      New list member Sharon Ghamari-Tabrizi found the following (remarkably accurate) article about the
      Medina L-carrier main station.

      Albert

      --- BEGIN QUOTE ---
      Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio) March 29, 1995 Wednesday, FINAL / ALL

      DOOMSDAY SWITCHBOARD; AT&T WAS PREPARED FOR THE WORST; IT BUILT AN UNDERGROUND SHELTER IN MEDINA
      TOWNSHIP TO MAINTAIN COMMUNICATION DURING A NUCLEAR WAR

      BYLINE: By STEVE LUTTNER; PLAIN DEALER REPORTER

      SECTION: NATIONAL; Pg. 1A

      On the surface, it doesn't look like much. The AT&T complex is just a couple of service garages and
      what appears to be a green storage shed.

      But the shed is a sham of sorts, for it masks entry into a cavernous remnant of the Cold War. One
      walks into the shed and steps back 30 years, descending into a 64,067-square-foot bomb shelter that
      offers an eerie testament to global tensions past.

      Had Cleveland come under nuclear attack, AT&T planned on preserving its telephone transmission
      equipment, thus maintaining a vital regional station to link telephones from Massachusetts to
      Illinois.

      "A lot of people think that a dial tone comes from heaven," said Patricia Harris, manager of AT&T's
      Medina facility.

      "It takes a lot of work to provide quality telephone service," Harris said. "It pays to guard
      against service interruption, even if it means building bomb shelters."

      The facility was off limits to the public and media throughout the Cold War, but AT&T has made it
      available for tours in recent years.

      The sprawling center, under the unobtrusive AT&T complex on busy Weymouth Rd. in Medina Township, is
      one of numerous command shelters the telecommunications giant built in the 1950s and 1960s. A
      company handbill of the day described the underground network as a "hardened communications backbone
      clear across the country."

      "The building's ventilation system is controlled by a sensing device that would automatically close
      blast valves if nuclear detonation were detected," the handbill states. "In emergencies, the
      underground center can generate its own power and provide living quarters, food and water necessary
      for its staff to operate the installation in a 'buttoned-up' condition for at least three weeks.'

      AT&T officials estimate that there are as many as 100 such facilities in the country. After 30
      years, the structures, which have 24-inch-thick, steel-reinforced concrete walls, are dated. AT&T is
      closing and trying to sell some of the buildings. But unloading a 30-year-old bomb shelter in the
      post-Cold War era can be tough.

      A much smaller underground AT&T facility in Hiram is proving difficult to sell. "People with unusual
      taste might enjoy a building like that," said Mark Jacobs, an AT&T engineer.

      The Medina facility will remain open, although much of its sprawling subterranean space is vacant. A
      switching station that simultaneously routes 400,000 telephone signals continues to operate deep
      within the underground fortress, but it consumes perhaps only 10 percent of the space that the
      original equipment required. It is highly automated, requiring only two people to operate it.

      The gleaming, highly efficient transmission components contrast sharply with the building's drab
      gray interior, which is adorned with numerous reminders of how serious the prospects of nuclear war
      once were. The two-level, concrete-encased facility is topped by 4 feet of earth and extends to a
      depth of 42 feet.

      After entering the shed and descending a metal staircase that empties into a vault, visitors pass
      through a 3,600-pound, lead-lined concrete door labeled "blast door." To exit the vault, one must
      past through a washroom with a decontamination shower outfitted with multiple heads designed to
      spray water at ankle, waist, shoulder and head level. Ceiling light fixtures dangle from thick,
      coiled springs that are designed to absorb the tremors of a nuclear blast.

      Much of the building's hardware is similarly insulated. The toilets, for example, are mounted on
      thick rubber pads that are said to rest atop a bed of shock-absorbing springs.

      Deep within the facility is a room that would have served as a regional nuclear attack command
      center for the communications company. A dozen unplugged phones, their cords wrapped around them,
      sit in neat formation atop a desk, prepared for a war that never came. File cabinets are still full.
      Inside one is a 1961 AT&T document titled "Radiation Effects of Nuclear Explosions."

      Stark but clean, the structure's chilly institutional atmosphere warms only slightly upon entering
      the living quarters for the small crew that would have run the sealed station after a nuclear
      explosion. AT&T recently donated cots and blankets that had long been stored there to the Medina
      County Emergency Management Agency, but there are numerous other signs of the company's
      preparedness.

      A pantry is still stocked with large cans of dried food, including margarine powder, dehydrated pear
      slices and beef flavored rice fricassee mix. Another shelf holds board games, a Bible and radiation
      detection devices still in their boxes. A first aid cupboard is still full of bandages and splints,
      although some of the over-the-counter medications have passed their expiration dates. A faded
      inventory taped to the cupboard door precisely indexes supplies, including bed pans and air
      sanitizers.

      --- END QUOTE ---
    • David Lesher
      ... That s the site I have a page up for. I was in it in ~~1970. ... Hmm, ~40 miles -- is that the right distance for a power station, or...? -- A host is a
      Message 2 of 11 , Nov 14, 2007
        Speaking on Deep Background, the Press Secretary whispered:
        >
        > New list member Sharon Ghamari-Tabrizi found the following (remarkably accurate) article about the
        > Medina L-carrier main station.
        >


        That's the site I have a page up for. I was in it in ~~1970.

        > A much smaller underground AT&T facility in Hiram is proving difficult to sell. "People with unusual
        > taste might enjoy a building like that," said Mark Jacobs, an AT&T engineer.

        Hmm, ~40 miles -- is that the right distance for a power station, or...?




        --
        A host is a host from coast to coast.................wb8foz@...
        & no one will talk to a host that's close........[v].(301) 56-LINUX
        Unless the host (that isn't close).........................pob 1433
        is busy, hung or dead....................................20915-1433
      • kemartinatsnetnet
        Any inside photos exist for this site? Ken ... (remarkably accurate) article about the ... ALL ... UNDERGROUND SHELTER IN MEDINA ... just a couple of service
        Message 3 of 11 , Nov 14, 2007
          Any inside photos exist for this site?

          Ken


          --- In coldwarcomms@yahoogroups.com, "Albert LaFrance"
          <albert.lafrance@...> wrote:
          >
          > New list member Sharon Ghamari-Tabrizi found the following
          (remarkably accurate) article about the
          > Medina L-carrier main station.
          >
          > Albert
          >
          > --- BEGIN QUOTE ---
          > Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio) March 29, 1995 Wednesday, FINAL /
          ALL
          >
          > DOOMSDAY SWITCHBOARD; AT&T WAS PREPARED FOR THE WORST; IT BUILT AN
          UNDERGROUND SHELTER IN MEDINA
          > TOWNSHIP TO MAINTAIN COMMUNICATION DURING A NUCLEAR WAR
          >
          > BYLINE: By STEVE LUTTNER; PLAIN DEALER REPORTER
          >
          > SECTION: NATIONAL; Pg. 1A
          >
          > On the surface, it doesn't look like much. The AT&T complex is
          just a couple of service garages and
          > what appears to be a green storage shed.
          >
          > But the shed is a sham of sorts, for it masks entry into a
          cavernous remnant of the Cold War. One
          > walks into the shed and steps back 30 years, descending into a
          64,067-square-foot bomb shelter that
          > offers an eerie testament to global tensions past.
          >
          > Had Cleveland come under nuclear attack, AT&T planned on
          preserving its telephone transmission
          > equipment, thus maintaining a vital regional station to link
          telephones from Massachusetts to
          > Illinois.
          >
          > "A lot of people think that a dial tone comes from heaven," said
          Patricia Harris, manager of AT&T's
          > Medina facility.
          >
          > "It takes a lot of work to provide quality telephone service,"
          Harris said. "It pays to guard
          > against service interruption, even if it means building bomb
          shelters."
          >
          > The facility was off limits to the public and media throughout the
          Cold War, but AT&T has made it
          > available for tours in recent years.
          >
          > The sprawling center, under the unobtrusive AT&T complex on busy
          Weymouth Rd. in Medina Township, is
          > one of numerous command shelters the telecommunications giant
          built in the 1950s and 1960s. A
          > company handbill of the day described the underground network as
          a "hardened communications backbone
          > clear across the country."
          >
          > "The building's ventilation system is controlled by a sensing
          device that would automatically close
          > blast valves if nuclear detonation were detected," the handbill
          states. "In emergencies, the
          > underground center can generate its own power and provide living
          quarters, food and water necessary
          > for its staff to operate the installation in a 'buttoned-up'
          condition for at least three weeks.'
          >
          > AT&T officials estimate that there are as many as 100 such
          facilities in the country. After 30
          > years, the structures, which have 24-inch-thick, steel-reinforced
          concrete walls, are dated. AT&T is
          > closing and trying to sell some of the buildings. But unloading a
          30-year-old bomb shelter in the
          > post-Cold War era can be tough.
          >
          > A much smaller underground AT&T facility in Hiram is proving
          difficult to sell. "People with unusual
          > taste might enjoy a building like that," said Mark Jacobs, an AT&T
          engineer.
          >
          > The Medina facility will remain open, although much of its
          sprawling subterranean space is vacant. A
          > switching station that simultaneously routes 400,000 telephone
          signals continues to operate deep
          > within the underground fortress, but it consumes perhaps only 10
          percent of the space that the
          > original equipment required. It is highly automated, requiring
          only two people to operate it.
          >
          > The gleaming, highly efficient transmission components contrast
          sharply with the building's drab
          > gray interior, which is adorned with numerous reminders of how
          serious the prospects of nuclear war
          > once were. The two-level, concrete-encased facility is topped by 4
          feet of earth and extends to a
          > depth of 42 feet.
          >
          > After entering the shed and descending a metal staircase that
          empties into a vault, visitors pass
          > through a 3,600-pound, lead-lined concrete door labeled "blast
          door." To exit the vault, one must
          > past through a washroom with a decontamination shower outfitted
          with multiple heads designed to
          > spray water at ankle, waist, shoulder and head level. Ceiling
          light fixtures dangle from thick,
          > coiled springs that are designed to absorb the tremors of a
          nuclear blast.
          >
          > Much of the building's hardware is similarly insulated. The
          toilets, for example, are mounted on
          > thick rubber pads that are said to rest atop a bed of shock-
          absorbing springs.
          >
          > Deep within the facility is a room that would have served as a
          regional nuclear attack command
          > center for the communications company. A dozen unplugged phones,
          their cords wrapped around them,
          > sit in neat formation atop a desk, prepared for a war that never
          came. File cabinets are still full.
          > Inside one is a 1961 AT&T document titled "Radiation Effects of
          Nuclear Explosions."
          >
          > Stark but clean, the structure's chilly institutional atmosphere
          warms only slightly upon entering
          > the living quarters for the small crew that would have run the
          sealed station after a nuclear
          > explosion. AT&T recently donated cots and blankets that had long
          been stored there to the Medina
          > County Emergency Management Agency, but there are numerous other
          signs of the company's
          > preparedness.
          >
          > A pantry is still stocked with large cans of dried food, including
          margarine powder, dehydrated pear
          > slices and beef flavored rice fricassee mix. Another shelf holds
          board games, a Bible and radiation
          > detection devices still in their boxes. A first aid cupboard is
          still full of bandages and splints,
          > although some of the over-the-counter medications have passed
          their expiration dates. A faded
          > inventory taped to the cupboard door precisely indexes supplies,
          including bed pans and air
          > sanitizers.
          >
          > --- END QUOTE ---
          >
        • Albert LaFrance
          None that I m aware of, but David Lesher has posted some some exterior shots at: http://www.panix.com/~wb8foz/Medina/ From the description, I would guess that
          Message 4 of 11 , Nov 14, 2007
            None that I'm aware of, but David Lesher has posted some some exterior shots at:
            http://www.panix.com/~wb8foz/Medina/

            From the description, I would guess that the interior is similar to Clarksville, NY. Mike Jacobs
            has posted interior images at:
            http://www.coldwarcomms.org/l5/clarksville/clarksville.html

            Albert

            ----- Original Message -----
            From: "kemartinatsnetnet" <kemartin@...>
            To: <coldwarcomms@yahoogroups.com>
            Sent: Wednesday, November 14, 2007 4:56 PM
            Subject: [coldwarcomms] Re: Newspaper article about AT&T Medina, OH hardened site



            Any inside photos exist for this site?

            Ken
          • lasertower
            ... or...? ... Some day David and I should take a visit to a abandoned early microwave site I know of near Edinburg and see if the farmer who owns it would
            Message 5 of 11 , Nov 14, 2007
              > Hmm, ~40 miles -- is that the right distance for a power station,
              or...?
              >
              >
              >

              Some day David and I should take a visit to a abandoned early
              microwave site I know of near Edinburg and see if the farmer who owns
              it would give us a tour, it has some nice yellow (or did as of last
              winter) steel housings about 4 feet tall and maybe 24" in diameter
              outside that look like blast detectors. Since Akron and Cleveland at
              one time were targets for megatons, it would be about the right
              distance for a survivable detector site. The small building is
              remarkably intact but the tower is down, however the dishes for a
              reflector style tower are still on the roof. I've never gotten
              closer then 1000 feet as he has some very paranoid neighbors who
              asked me what I was doing looking at the property from my stopped
              car.

              I think what they are refering to as Hiram is Shalersville, and
              perhaps at one time that tower had a underground next to it? The L
              carrier map showes a line very close to the microwave site which now
              is dehorned, but is a small cell site, a larger tower (Shalersville
              2) a few hundred feet down the road now houses some interesting
              things. I've drove all around the Hiram college campus 13 years ago
              chasing after my high school sweetheart, and never saw anything
              remotely like a carrier hut.

              Also near Lake Milton is a interesting (former?)Sprint site with a
              underground, ie the tower is on a small fenced in lot with a concrete
              covered staircase down to the electronics bays. It had conical horns
              until this summer, then it was switched over to newer modern tiny
              dishes.

              I have no telco friends in the area, so I have nobody to ask about
              details.

              Steve Roberts
            • lasertower
              This just popped up Googling AT&T Hiram AT&T LONG LINES HIRAM OHIO (5933 STATE ROUTE 82 in HIRAM, OH) (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (tracking
              Message 6 of 11 , Nov 14, 2007
                This just popped up Googling AT&T Hiram

                AT&T LONG LINES HIRAM OHIO (5933 STATE ROUTE 82 in HIRAM, OH)
                (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (tracking hazardous waste))
                Organizations: AMERICAN TELEPHONE AND TELEGRAPH (CONTACT/OWNER)


                Steve
              • David Lesher
                ... I live Inside the Beltway but my ex-GTE friend just moved back to Medina so I do get there from time to time... -- A host is a host from coast to
                Message 7 of 11 , Nov 14, 2007
                  Speaking on Deep Background, the Press Secretary whispered:
                  >
                  >
                  > > Hmm, ~40 miles -- is that the right distance for a power station,
                  > or...?
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  >
                  > Some day David and I should take a visit to a abandoned early
                  > microwave site I know of near Edinburg and see if the farmer who owns
                  > it would give us a tour, it has some nice yellow (or did as of last
                  > winter) steel housings about 4 feet tall and maybe 24" in diameter
                  > outside that look like blast detectors.

                  I live Inside the Beltway but my ex-GTE friend just moved back
                  to Medina so I do get there from time to time...




                  --
                  A host is a host from coast to coast.................wb8foz@...
                  & no one will talk to a host that's close........[v].(301) 56-LINUX
                  Unless the host (that isn't close).........................pob 1433
                  is busy, hung or dead....................................20915-1433
                • David Lesher
                  I see you guys broke my daily html limit! A first.... Wait a few hours & try again... -- A host is a host from coast to coast.................wb8foz@nrk.com &
                  Message 8 of 11 , Nov 14, 2007
                    I see you guys broke my daily html limit!

                    A first....

                    Wait a few hours & try again...




                    --
                    A host is a host from coast to coast.................wb8foz@...
                    & no one will talk to a host that's close........[v].(301) 56-LINUX
                    Unless the host (that isn't close).........................pob 1433
                    is busy, hung or dead....................................20915-1433
                  • David Lesher
                    I ve mirrored the page at: Feel free to get it there; it s limited to 10Mb/s, though.. -- A host is a host from coast to
                    Message 9 of 11 , Nov 14, 2007
                      I've mirrored the page at:

                      <http://www.tux.org/wb8foz/Medina/>

                      Feel free to get it there; it's limited to 10Mb/s, though..



                      --
                      A host is a host from coast to coast.................wb8foz@...
                      & no one will talk to a host that's close........[v].(301) 56-LINUX
                      Unless the host (that isn't close).........................pob 1433
                      is busy, hung or dead....................................20915-1433
                    • kemartinatsnetnet
                      Albert, Thanks for the info and interesting link. Ken ... to Clarksville, NY. Mike Jacobs ... OH hardened site
                      Message 10 of 11 , Nov 15, 2007
                        Albert,

                        Thanks for the info and interesting link.

                        Ken

                        --- In coldwarcomms@yahoogroups.com, "Albert LaFrance"
                        <albert.lafrance@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > None that I'm aware of, but David Lesher has posted some some
                        exterior shots at:
                        > http://www.panix.com/~wb8foz/Medina/
                        >
                        > From the description, I would guess that the interior is similar
                        to Clarksville, NY. Mike Jacobs
                        > has posted interior images at:
                        > http://www.coldwarcomms.org/l5/clarksville/clarksville.html
                        >
                        > Albert
                        >
                        > ----- Original Message -----
                        > From: "kemartinatsnetnet" <kemartin@...>
                        > To: <coldwarcomms@yahoogroups.com>
                        > Sent: Wednesday, November 14, 2007 4:56 PM
                        > Subject: [coldwarcomms] Re: Newspaper article about AT&T Medina,
                        OH hardened site
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > Any inside photos exist for this site?
                        >
                        > Ken
                        >
                      • Tom
                        AT&T officials estimate that there are as many as 100 such facilities in the country. After 30 years, the structures, which have 24-inch-thick,
                        Message 11 of 11 , Nov 15, 2007
                          AT&T officials estimate that there are as many as 100 such facilities
                          in the country. After 30
                          years, the structures, which have 24-inch-thick, steel-reinforced
                          concrete walls, are dated. AT&T is
                          closing and trying to sell some of the buildings. But unloading a
                          30-year-old bomb shelter in the
                          post-Cold War era can be tough.

                          Not really I'll buy one.
                          hell I'll buy 2 if the price is right.
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