Silent Sentinels: Minuteman Missiles on the Plains

New Work by Evan Anderman

Evan Anderman Photography

March 2 – April 28, 2017

Evan Anderman Silent Sentinels Minuteman

The area surrounding the Pawnee National Grassland northeast of Greeley, Colorado has seen a long history of contested land uses. Ranching is the main agricultural activity that has flourished, the landscape dotted by stock tanks and windmills with cowpaths etched between in a large- scale game of Tinkertoy. More recent activities are increasingly intrusive on the landscape. In the last 10 years almost 400 wind turbines were installed on the bench just north of the grassland. At the same time, the discovery of oil and the growing use of fracking has resulted in the drilling of almost 100 wells in the private land that is interspersed within the prairie. The light pollution at night from both the windmills and oil wells is considerable, not to mention the increase of heavy truck traffic from the oil-field activities.

Interspersed within all of this is another, more ominous neighbor: dozens of nuclear missiles. Installed in the 1960’s in a loose pattern to make destruction by the Russians difficult, these missile silos dot the landscape every few miles or so and sit silently on a hair trigger, surrounded by a tall, barbed-wire fence. Each location has the same characteristic elements: a tall white spike housing a security system, a newer security system mounted on a telephone pole just outside the fence, and a characteristic orange weather vane on one of the fence corners. Once you know all these components, it is easy to pick out the silo locations from the surrounding landscape.

In the end, the most striking thing about the missile silos is the dichotomy between how unobtrusive they are, placed within the peaceful landscape, yet they represent unimaginable destruction. It gives one a pause when you realize what exactly you are looking at.

Evan Anderman Photography
209 Kalamath St., Unit 4
Denver, CO 80223


About Evan Anderman:

Anderman’s photography can be found in the collection of the Denver Art Museum as well as many private collections across the country. His work has been exhibited at institutions nationally and internationally, including DongGang International Photo Festival/South Korea, Mt Rokko International Photo Festival/Japan, Denver Public Library, Midwest Center for Photography, The Dairy Center for the Arts, The Arvada Center, American Mountaineering Center, Denver International Airport, The Museum of Outdoor Arts, The Arts Student’s League of Denver, Carmen Wiedenhoeft Gallery, The Colorado State Capitol, Robischon Gallery, Lamont Gallery, Buttonwood Art Space, and in his own gallery in Denver’s Santa Fe Arts District.

In November 2013, Anderman was honored for his unique environmental photography with the inaugural Photo District News (PDN) Duggal Image Maker Award. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of CENTER Santa Fe. Prior to becoming a full-time photographer, Anderman spent decades working as a geologist, and holds a Master’s and a PhD in Geological Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines and a BS in Geological Engineering from Princeton University.