Signs You Are Getting Old: Your Birthplace Is Now an Abandoned Building!
It all started on a snowy, late March evening in 1963 in Sault St. Marie, Michigan. My father was in the Air Force at the time and my mother was pregnant with her first child.
When my mother started to go into labor, my parents loaded into their car and headed for the hospital at Kincheloe Air Force Base in Kinross, Michigan (about 20 miles away). Early the next morning, I was born into this world.
A few years after my birth, in December of 1965, the Department of Defense announced plans to have that Air Force base closed by 1971. It actually stayed open until 1977 due to the Vietnam war, but after that it was closed for good.
Years ago, I drove into Kinross to see what was left of the old Air Force Base. As I drove along the road leading into Kinross, I was a little disappointed...the city forgot to include my name as a famous person who was born there (I'm kidding!). They did honor the 2006 Miss Teen Michigan Raquel McClendon though.
The History of Kincheloe Air Force Base
It was built way back in 1943, during World War II, and called Kinross Auxiliary Airfield. The small airfield had three 5,520-foot x 300-foot runways constructed in a triangle pattern with a small aircraft parking area and a few support buildings. It was often used to refuel military aircraft on their way to Alaska.
After the war, the airfield served as a hub for private and commercial aviation. It became an airport for Sault Ste. Marie in 1945. The commercial air service came to an end in 1952.
The Kinross Incident
On November 23rd, 1953, an Air Force Jet took off from Kinross Air Force Base to investigate an unidentified object in restricted air space over Lake Superior.
The object kept changing course. The jet pursued the object for 30 minutes at a speed of 500 miles per hour. From radar on the ground, the two blips eventually locked together 70 miles off Keweenaw Point in the Upper Peninsula -- and then both objects disappeared from the radar scope.
First Lieutenant Felix Moncla and his plane vanished (along with Second Lieutenant Robert Wilson who was working the radar in the aircraft). This story still remains a mystery as neither Moncla, Wilson, nor plane have ever been recovered.
Why is was it called Kincheloe Air Force Base?
The airfield was named in honor of the Captain Iven Kincheloe. He was a native of Cassopolis, MI. It was on September 7th, 1956, that he became the first pilot to climb above 100,000 feet by flying to a peak altitude of 126,200 feet at more than 2,000 mph in a Bell X-2 rocket-powered research airplane. He was nicknamed "America's No. 1 Spaceman" Less than two years later, he was killed in the crash of an F-104 Starfighter on July 26th, 1958 at Edwards Air Force Base in California.
The Later Years of Kincheloe Air Force Base
Throughout the years the former Air Force Base has been used for a variety of things. Some of the scenes for the movie "Die Hard II" were filmed there in 1990.
A decade later, the area was also used as a correctional facility (it is always fun to tell people I was born in a prison), an airport, manufacturing and schooling. The correctional facility closed in October 2015.
Now, the former Kincheloe Air Force Base sits abandoned and falling apart...
Remains of Kincheloe Air Force Base
Here is more on the history of Kincheloe Air Force Base and its later closing...
Here is another cool, abandoned place in Michigan...
WARNING: Under no circumstances should you enter this property. By doing so you risk bodily harm and/or prosecution for trespassing on private property.