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In 1951 the $700,000 military air base was started and in June 1952 the 655th AC&W Squadron started operating AN/FPS-3 and AN/FPS-5 radars on the Dry Hill Plateau, and assumed coverage previously provided by Lashup site L-6 at Pine Camp (now Fort Drum). This installation was not connected with Fort Drum in any way and was a part of the 21'st RCC (NORAD Regional Control Center) a SAGE network, located at Hancock AFB, Syracuse, and was under the Air Force's Aerospace Defense Command (ADC or ADCOM). The 655th Radar Squadron was based there and was under the jurisdiction of the 21st Air Division of Hancock Field, Syracuse. About 150 men were stationed at this location (though originally there were supposed to be more then twice that many) and a residential area was built nearby.

In 1969 rumors circulated that the installation was going to close but an Air Force spokesman refuted the article that appeared in the Watertown Daily Times. But in 1979 the radar installation was closed.

The installation is now Watertown Correctional Facility (Dry Hill Prison) and some of the buildings from the radar installation are now used by the prison.

{from Marc's History of Jefferson County}

Also see Dry Hill.

  • dry_hill_radar_installation.txt
  • Last modified: 2018/12/06 17:16
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