JUNCTION CITY, Kan. (KSNT) – Some big changes are underway in Junction City for a more than 40-year-old piece of military history.
The “Atomic Annie” cannon overlooks I-70 and has been there since 1975. It’s been a tourist attraction for years but is getting run down, and that is why the National Guard is helping out. They’ve been getting to work around 4 a.m. to work before it gets too hot.
“The heat has definitely been a factor,” said Specialist Cameron Smith. “It’s been really hot around here lately but getting up at 4 in the morning and working at four in the morning is a lot easier than having to work in the afternoon.”
The 47-ton weapon was designed to fire a nuclear warhead from the ground. This one has never been used and has sat on the hill since 1975. The cannon has seen better days, now covered in graffiti, so resident Scott Brown is excited to see it get a new life.
“Growing up here my whole life and I was here when the cannon was put in,” said Brown. “I was here on the same day. I always thought it was unique.”
The project counts for the soldier’s exercise training. They’ve put in new concrete and help move dirt for the trail to the display.
“It’s good for the community, it’s good for the history of the atomic cannon, they’re wanting to make this more visible to the public where they can come up here and enjoy it a little bit better,” said Sergeant Scottie Love.
While a lot of the project will be done by the soldiers, the Geary County Convention and Visitors Bureau has $50,000 for the entire renovation.
The director of the Convention and Visitors Bureau says they hope to have the project done this fall.