The Cold War / Peace Museum
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  The SAGE (Semi-Automatic Ground Environment) Facility

Top Secret Air Defense Headquarters

The SAGE building served as a major component of our country¹s air defense during the Cold War period (1945-1990). It is a windowless, 153,000 square foot, four story high, attack-hardened concrete structure built to withstand an atomic blast.  Through much of the Cold War this building served as the headquarters for the air defense of the Northeastern United States.

The SAGE blockhouse today

The "war room" with its maps detailing air attacks and defense strategies, is still intact.  There is a filter system, still in place, designed to remove nuclear fallout from the air inside the building.  And, on each floor there is a massive air conditioning system, designed to remove the heat generated by the very earliest vacuum-tube computers of the 1950s.

The SAGE blockhouse today

SAGE stands for "Semi Automatic Ground Environment"

Beginning in 1958, the SAGE Direction Center played a crucial role in America¹s defense against a possible Soviet air attack.  It wa home to one of the first major installations of the military's computer-based command and control system.  Data from distant radar sites was transmitted over phone lines to computer consoles at this and 21 similar centers nationwide, where Air Force personnel were alerted to intercept enemy planes with remote-controlled surface-to-air missiles.  The semi-automatic system required human judgment.  It was designed to combine the talents of military personnel with the most cutting-edge technology of machines.

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