Custom-built high security telephone (North American Defense Command's Cheyenne Mountain complex


1959 Custom-built high security telephone, used in the North American Defense Command's Cheyenne Mountain complex during the nation's first DEFCON 2 alert status during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Painted metal, dimensions:11"x16"x22".

How Does The Artifact Relate to Colorado History

North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) is an organization of the United States and Canada that provides warning, air sovereignty, and defense for Northern America. Headquarters is located at Peterson Air Force Base near Colorado Springs, with the Cheyenne Mountain nuclear bunker as the Alternate Command Center. NORAD became operational in 1979.

The defense industry plays a major role in the Colorado economy. A large segment of this industry is dedicated to the development and operation of projects for missile defense. The military is the largest employment sector in Colorado Springs, with about 37,250 active personnel and 12,000 civilian employees in Colorado.

Why Is This Artifact Significant?

The defense readiness condition (DEFCON) is an alert state used by the US Armed Forces. It prescribes five levels of readiness for the U.S. military, from DEFCON 5 (least severe) to DEFCON 1 (most severe) to match varying military situations. The highest confirmed DEFCON ever was Level 2 declared during the Cuban Missile Crisis, a pivotal moment in the Cold War. The United States and the Soviet Union stood closer to Armageddon than at any other moment in history. (DEFCON 2 was also declared in 1991, the opening phase of Operation Desert Storm).

Artifact Is
3 Dimensional
Artifact Significant To
Artifact Location

Telecommunications History Group
1425 Champa St
Denver, CO 80202
United States

Custom-built high security telephone (North American Defense Command's Cheyenne Mountain complex

Year(s) Nominated