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West Lafayette, Indiana: Russian Bomber Watchtower and Monument

Dedicated to those who watched for the commies who never came.

W. 850 N., West Lafayette, IN
Hwy 43 west to 900 N., about three miles south of Hwy 18 and six miles north of I-65. Follow to 100 W., cross over I-65, go about a half-mile. Turn left onto W. 850 N.; Tower and monument will be on the right.
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Visitor Tips and News About Russian Bomber Watchtower and Monument

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Russian Bomber Watchtower and Monument

The watchtower is almost hidden by trees and is easy to overshoot; you'll have to turn down the crossroad of the intersection and it's sort of tucked in beside a house. There's a small dead-end driveway you can pull into for photos. The tower itself is very rickety with only fragments of ladder near the top. I wouldn't recommend trying to climb it. The historical marker reads the same on both sides, even though one side faces the wood panel fence and can't really be seen.

[Kitsa, 06/13/2017]

Russian Bomber Watchtower and Monument.

Russian Bomber Watchtower and Monument

At N 100 W and W 850 N in Cairo, IN. The tower is weathered and looks like it will fall over any moment.

[Mallory Billings, 07/05/2016]

Watch Tower and monument.

Russian Bomber Watchtower and Monument

Operation Skywatch lookout tower and monument. Picking my daughter up from Purdue West Lafayette, I planned a mini-off-beat road trip home. We had some difficulty locating Cairo Indiana using a GPS unit, Mapquest, and directions from this site. Prior to heading out I created my own directions the old school way: a hand-held paper map. My daughter (16) found the whole thing lamely amusing. Stories of her grandfather's fear of the Russian's struck a nerve of truth to family tall tales and fears that become instilled in every generation of potential attacks.

Through research I discovered this isn't the actual tower, but a reconstructed one built in 1976. Sadly the wood has rotted and the tower is an unsafe structure not offering much in way of what the original must have looked like. Nonetheless, a fairly well maintained area as the grass is mowed and area clear of any debris. Worth a trip off paved roads as a part of history you didn't and won't learn in school.

[Sandra Nantais, 07/06/2008]

Skywatch Monument.

Operation Skywatch Tower

The watch tower in Cairo, Indiana was commissioned in 1952 by the U.S. Air Force. During the Korean War it was manned 24 hours a day by 90 people, working in shifts, who would keep watch for Russian aircraft since there wasn't a national radar system at the time.

The tower still stands, but due to its very poor condition you are not permitted to climb. There is also a monument with a man, woman, and child looking skyward.

[Brady Smith, 07/12/2001]

Soviet Bomber Watchtower

If life takes you to West Lafayette, Indiana (home of Purdue), drive north to the nearly abandoned town of Cairo (Kay-roe). There's a big limestone monument and, when I was last there (several years ago) an old wooden watchtower. It was the site of some strange nationwide watch-for-Russians-in-bombers program in the '50s. Volunteers actually staffed the tower on a round-the-clock basis, at least for a while (no picnic in a windy winter in the flat lands of northern Indiana). The statue is of a man, woman and child, watching the skies. There's an inscription, "They also serve who stand and watch."

[Scott Gilbert, 09/01/1997]

Nearby Offbeat Places

Fallen Soldier SculptureFallen Soldier Sculpture, West Lafayette, IN - 5 mi.
Prophet's RockProphet's Rock, Battle Ground, IN - 5 mi.
World's Largest Boilermaker StatueWorld's Largest Boilermaker Statue, West Lafayette, IN - 7 mi.
In the region:
Miami County Museum Oddities, Peru, IN - 47 mi.

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