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Shell ready.

Atomic Cannon

Field review by the editors.

Junction City, Kansas

Junction City's Atomic Cannon has been on display high atop a bluff in "Freedom Park" since May 1975. A switchback trail leads up to the weedy summit, past a tank and smaller, rusting pieces of artillery. The climb is invigorating.

The cannon, built in the 1950s, was designed to hurl a nuclear shell far enough so that it would vaporize an enemy without vaporizing itself. The gun sits alone on its carriage, without the dual-end transporter trucks that gave the cannon the ability to "shoot-and-scoot." Soon after the cannon's arrival, the U.S. government gave the land at Freedom Park to Geary County.

Atomic Cannon.

The Atomic Cannon at Freedom Park has a display shell in its breach, ready to loft toward... where? The cannon could throw a shell 20 miles, so we placed ground zero southwest and just shy of the Eisenhower Museum in Abilene (Ike was a big supporter of atomic artillery).

Shell at the ready.

We later learned that the cannon was in fact carefully aimed at the house of Jack Lacy, a Geary County executive who worked to bring the cannon to Junction City. The targeting was meant as a compliment.

Also see: Atomic Cannons

Atomic Cannon

Freedom Park

Kennel Drive, Junction City, KS
Freedom Park. Northeast of town, at I-70 exit 301, on the south side.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

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In the region:
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