Rocky Flats Plant, Guardhouse
HAER No. CO-83-D (Rocky Flats Plant, Building 888)
Note: The documentation for Building 888 also represents other guardhouses,
including Buildings 446, 461, 557, 773, 864, and 992.
Rocky Flats Environmental Technology Site, Highway 93, Golden, Jefferson
County, Colorado. Building 888 is located in the eastern portion of the industrial area,
northwest of Building 886 (the Critical Mass Laboratory), on the south side of Central
This building is a primary contributor to the Rocky Flats Plant
historic district, associated with the U.S. strategy of nuclear military deterrence during
the Cold War, a strategy considered of major importance in preventing Soviet nuclear
attack. As a top-secret weapons production plant, safeguarding design secrets and later,
the number of weapons being produced was of prime importance at the Rocky Flats Plant.
Building 888 is one of seven guardhouses used to control access to designated security
areas within the Industrial Area.
Building 888, built in 1964, is 20 by 20 feet (400 square feet)
with windows on all four sides. The building is a small one-room concrete building with a
flat roof. The windows are large (fixed), single pane with metal sashes; the doors are
metal. Building 446, built in 1952, is 23 by 13 feet (299 square feet) with windows
on four sides. This guardhouse is located to the north of Building 444, the depleted
uranium and beryllium production facility. Building 461, built in 1985, is 20 by
20 feet (400 square feet) with windows on all four sides. This building is located south
of Building 460, the non-plutonium (primarily stainless-steel) pit components facility.
Building 557, built in 1968, is 13 by 26 feet (338 square feet) with windows on two
sides. It is located within the protected area, southeast of Building 559, the chemical
analytical laboratory for plutonium production. Building 773, built in 1952, is 14 by
14 feet (196 square feet) with windows on four sides. It is located northwest of Building
771, the original plutonium fabrication facility. Building 992, built in 1951, is a
two-story building, 16 by 16 feet (256 square feet), with a second floor observation
deck. This guardhouse is located in the southwest corner of the protected area, southwest
of Building 991, the final assembly facility for weapons components.
As a top-secret weapons production plant, the Rocky Flats Plant was
concerned with security precautions from its inception. According to a former security
deputy, in the early years plant security personnel were concerned with the Cold War,
espionage, and the secrecy associated with building nuclear weapons. Safeguarding design
secrets and later, the number of weapons being produced was of prime importance.
Classified documents were available only on a "need-to-know" basis, all
employees were required to qualify for a Q clearance, a high-level security clearance for
atomic workers requiring a 15-year background check. Employees were forbidden to talk
about their work with anyone.
The security or protective force regulated plant and interplant access, provided
security patrol and checks, and escorted plant shipments. The security force also
maintained a weapons arsenal, trained new security police officers, investigated
violations of federal laws, and maintained a liaison with federal and local law
enforcement agencies. A highly trained special response team could respond to actual or
potential incidents, such as hostage situations, barricade incidents, or other
emergencies. The security forces were responsible for material control and accountability,
computer security, personnel security, classified material security, access control, and
security protection for special nuclear materials at the Rocky Flats Plant.
The security facilities distributed across the plant site included more than
25 buildings. The security facilities can be divided into groups based on
similarity in use. Buildings 446, 461, 557, 773, 864, 888, and 992 were used to control
access to designated security areas (i.e., a production building and its complex). Each of
the four original letter-named plants had its own guardhouse: Building 446 for Plant A
(Building 444); Building 864 for Plant B (Building 881), Building 773 for Plant C
(Building771), and Building 992 for Plant D (Building 991). As new production plants were
built, individual guardhouses were also constructed for them. Guardhouse 888 was built in
1964, close to the Critical Mass Laboratory (the Building 886 complex); guardhouse 461 was
built in 1985 for the stainless steel fabrication plant (the Building 460 complex); and
guardhouse 557 was built in 1967 near the Chemical Analytical Laboratory (the Building 559
complex). Day-to-day operations and emergency operations varied little for these security
facilities. The guards were responsible for securing the buildings (locking gates and
doors) and controlling access. Security was provided for these areas 24 hours a
day. However, during off-shifts, weekends, and holidays, the security guards may have been
in the production buildings on patrol or in the guardhouse (Newby).
Newby, Ronald, employed at the plant since 1967 by the site
contractor. Personal communication,
United States Department of Energy. Final Cultural Resources Survey Report (1995), by Science Applications International Corporation. Rocky Flats Repository. Golden,
United States Department of Energy. Site Safety Analysis Report, Notebook
13-Security (1995), by EG&G. Rocky Flats Plant Repository. Golden, Colorado, 1995.
D. Jayne Aaron, Environmental Designer, engineering-environmental
Management, 1997. Judith Berryman, Ph.D., Archaeologist,
engineering-environmental Management, 1997.
Index to Photographs
Located northwest of Building 886, just south of Central Avenue, Golden Vicinity, Jefferson County, Colorado.
Photographs by Timothy McGrath and Katherine T. Abeyta, Source One, site photography
contractor, spring 1997.
CO-83-D-1 – View looking south at the north elevation of Building 888. Building 888 is one of seven guardhouses used to control access to designated security areas within the industrial area.