CORDELE, Ga. – A Cold War-era rocket on the side of the interstate isn’t an everyday occurrence. But, that’s what makes it worth the visit.
“That was the very point. It’s a unique and unusual landmark for Cordele and Crisp County,” The Cordele Dispatch in 2008 quoted John Pate as saying. As president of the Cordele Rotary Club, Pate pushed to acquire the Titan I missile that stands along Interstate 75.
The missile was acquired from the Air Force in 1968 after it was declared obsolete. The missile was flown from California to Warner Robins Air Base where it was stored for some time before it was given to the community.
“We were trying to come up with something that would make our community stand out,” The Cordele Dispatch in 2008 quoted Pate as saying. “I had visited Cape Kennedy that year and learned the Air Force was decommissioning the Titan missiles.”
Titan I missiles were used between 1959 and 1965 and is considered the country’s first Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). The missile in Cordele stands on what has been dubbed “Confederate Air Force Pad No. I.”
“It’s become quite a landmark for us,” United Press International in 1987 quoted Don Sims, then-executive vice president of the Cordele Chamber of Commerce, as saying. “I was courting my wife years ago – she was from Cordele and I was from Lookout Mountain (Tenn.) on I-75 – and I came down here to meet her folks. Her directions to me were, ‘Go to the rocket and turn right.’”
(This article previously appeared on The Travel Trolley and Examiner.com)