In the 1960’s, during the Cold War, the USA deployed inter-continental ballistic missiles (ICBM) stations in the Western Hemisphere to prevent any Russian attacks, and one of the first of the stations to be installed still stands with its massive satellite dish on a Trinidadian peninsula.
It was during this tense time that the US also developed the Early Warning System to get a jump on any imminent missile attacks before they were able to reach American soil. The radar station built in Trinidad near Chaguaramas was one of the first stations built in the monitoring network. The installation was finished in 1958, and the site had been chosen since the area had already been leased by the British to the USA since the early 1940’s to construct a naval base. The Chaguaramas radar station operated until 1971, but as it had been built without warning the local authorities, the abandoned remains continued to be important as a symbol of the Trinidadian fight for sovereignty.
Today the empty structures on the site retain a gloomy movie-like atmosphere when the day is misty, but it makes a great place for star gazing when the night is clear. Despite its scientific, historic, and social relevance to the area there are rumblings that the site will be demolished to make room for hotel space. Unfortunately there is no early warning system to defend against the inexorable roll of commercial development.
Know Before You Go
Up the hills of Tucker Valley, close to Maqueripe Bay : on your way to Maqueripe Bay, take the road on the right heading to the Bamboo Cathedral, then walk all the way up the hill.