During our road trip this year, I made a point for us to stop at the old Rattlesnake Bomber Base. Yes, I actually wanted to stop at a place that had the word snake in it. What can I say? I felt like living dangerously.
Before heading out there, I hadn’t done much research. Once we figured out what road we needed to be on to get to it, we realized not only was is completely locked down, it also looked like people were living in the old base housing.
It also looked like it had been turned into a prison at some point as well, although, the prison now appeared to be closed.
There were no trespassing / property under surveillance signs everywhere. Along with signs that stated the property belonged to the University of Texas.
Not wanting to risk jail time, we left extremely disappointed. However, I was able to get some pictures from the service road with my telephoto lens. Sorry about the not so great quality, I was in a moving vehicle and the ruins of the hangers that you see in the pictures was over a mile away.
Rattlesnake Bomber Base is actually a nickname for Pyote Air Force Base aka Pyote Army Airfield aka Pyote Army Air Station.
The base is an old World War II United States Army Air Forces training base just outside of Pyote, Texas on 2,745 acres of University of Texas land. It’s nickname “Rattlesnake Bomber Base” stems from the numerous rattlesnake dens that were uncovered during its construction in 1942.
After the war, the base became an aircraft storage depot and housed the famous B-29 Enola Gay, which dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima.
Rattlesnake Bomber Base was deactivated and placed on standby status in 1953 and the last plane left out in 1955 along with the remaining crew. However, in April 1958 the base was reopened as Pyote Air Force Station, a radar installation that was part of an early warning network in case of Soviet air attack during the Cold War.
In March 1963 the Air Force closed the base and operations ceased on 1 August 1963. Pyote AFB was declared surplus and the General Services Administration (GSA) disposed of the facilities by giving the Air Defense Command support buildings along with the Base family housing to the West Texas Children’s Home, a juvenile detention facility operated by the Texas Youth Commission which opened in 1966 and ceased to operate in 2010. The land and remaining buildings were reverted back to the University of Texas.
There is a museum down the road that houses a bunch of old items from the base. We didn’t have a chance to stop by, but will the next time we are passing through.
Don’t trespass, even though it looks deserted we observed several vehicles in driveways and electricity on in one of the houses. Who lives there is beyond me, but someone does and you can only assume they are keeping an eye on things.