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EVER WONDER? AT&T caused NORAD blackout; Cresterra Parkway

August 26, 2011

Last week, reader Paul asked about a 1961 incident when NORAD radar was blacked out and Strategic Air Command bombers were scrambled because of a problem with a microwave tower in Black Forest. It was, everyone feared, a Cold War Soviet attack. Where’s the tower, he wondered?

Readers knew all about it.

•kmancos online:  “It’s worth mentioning that NORAD in 1961 was located at Ent Air Force Base in the old Beth el Hospital (later Memorial Hospital) on East Boulder Street. It is the old 3/4 story blond brick building.”

•rockisland8 online: “Paul, the radio tower you are referring to in Black Forest was east of Black Forest Road, south of Hodgen Road and just north of the old Brentwood Country Club. It was a TD2 radio route from Prospect Valley, Colo., to both Ent Air Force base (now gone) and downtown Colorado Springs in the Mountain Bell/AT&T building.” It was replaced at the end of the 1980’s with “fiber optic” and the tower was torn down. “The dirt road leading from Black Forest Road to the tower was renamed ‘Monty Place’ and homes have been built alongside it.”

•Dave Seibert worked at that microwave tower for several years and said an engineer we’ll call “Q” didn’t follow instructions “for routining a TD2 transmitter and receiver.” He enclosed diagrams showing what went wrong. There was no “500A termination on the Channel Dropping Network when he was running the Radio Frequency (RF) Sweep Generator to adjust the equipment.” That generator leaked RF into the Channel Separating Filter “interfering with all the other transmitters in the Black Forest Microwave Station, causing a complete failure of all channels going to Ent.  SAC scrambled all aircraft. Later SAC billed AT&T for all the fuel used.”

On the microwave's radio switching bay, a cigarette ad was posted: “I would rather fight than switch."

 The Pentagon instituted a system with different-color lights to distinguish between a communications failure and an actual nuclear threat.


What’s Cresterra?

On Powers Boulevard going south toward Bradley Road there is a new road being built called Cresterra Parkway. Where does it go to?
— Vicki Ross, Security

ANSWER: Sam Schneiter, Colorado Springs Airport, responded:  “Cresterra Parkway connects south Powers Boulevard with Milton E. Proby Parkway. This roadway will provide access to the military’s Rapid Deployment Facility located in the Colorado Springs Airport business park. Additionally, this north to south road will serve as the principal roadway within the business park.” It should be open in the fall.

More driving-range history

Readers have been discussing the city's miniature golf courses and driving ranges.

From Frank Ulrich: "One more golf driving range story which may have been the
oldest public driving range in the city.

"Our family moved here in 1945 and purchased acreage on North Nevada Avenue (about the
3800 block north) and opened a driving range the following year.

"I, at age 15 was the only employee. The driving range had about 20 mats,
a small building and a nice grassy area with tables and chairs. Due to lack of business the range closed slightly more that 2 years later and a restaurant was built on the
property. The restaurant, The Yew Bow Inn was sold years later and
became Winter's Steak House and  eventually was sold again and became
The Candlelight Inn which remained in business for many, many years."

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