If you have ever traveled along M-22 south of Empire you may have noticed a large white sphere sticking up over the trees. If you are curious like me you have probably wondered what it is. It was built in the 1950s as part of the Empire Air Force Station operated by the 752d Aircraft Control and Warning (AC&W) squadron. It was a long range radar that scanned the skies for missiles from the Soviet Union. The station was deactivated in 1978. In the 1980s it was turned over to the FAA and now the radar is used to monitor commercial aircraft.
It sits near the Empire Bluff Trail Head and I drove up to get a closer look at it but unfortunately the road was closed to visitors. The buildings from the old base is used my the National Park Service and only employees are allowed in. Oh well at least now I know what the giant “golf ball” along M-22 is used for.
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