Shell ready.

Atomic Cannon (In Transition)

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."

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.

Soon after the cannon's arrival, the U.S. government gave the land at Freedom Park to Geary County. Its officials told us that the park is currently closed for maintenance, but that they hoped to reopen it to the public later in 2020.

Also see: Atomic Cannons

Atomic Cannon

Freedom Park

Address:
Kennel Drive, Junction City, KS
Directions:
Freedom Park. Northeast of town, at I-70 exit 301, on the south side.
Hours:
Closed for park renovations, planned reopening in late 2020.
Status:
In Transition
Save to My Sights

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In the region:
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August 11, 2020

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