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Red Cliff Air Radar Station

Updated: Apr 7, 2022

Exploring abandoned and interesting places

I am surprised how many people in St. John’s don’t know that hidden away off Red Cliff Road is a piece of American Cold War history. Red Cliff Air Radar Station is an abandoned American Surveillance Radar station. It is located 5.8 miles (9.3 km) north-northeast of St. John's.

The American Air Force built the site in 1951 as a General Surveillance Radar station. Northeast Air Command stationed the 642nd Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron at the station on 1 January 1953. The 642nd's role was to guide interceptor aircraft toward unidentified intruders picked up on the unit's radar scopes.

The Red Cliff Air Radar Station was a complete community once it became operational. At one point it housed military personal in barracks, had a warehouse, a dining hall and recreational areas.

Red Cliff Air Radar Station was closed on October 01, 1961. Today the site is abandoned and unused. Some of the structures remain, but are deteriorating or have fallen completely. On the day I visited the only people there were weekend warriors playing air rifle games, hikers using the East Coast Trail and three teenaged vandals spray painting the already over vandalized buildings.

It is a shame that in this year when we celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Beaumont Hamel and the First World War that this site that played such an important role at one time is left to disappear into an overgrown forest.

If it had been kept up it surely would have been one of the top visited tourist sites in the province. People travel all over the world to see old military sites and experience history. It is a missed opportunity for us for sure.

Read about the full history of Red Cliff Radar Station at

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