SAGE Center

Many North Syracuse residents may not be aware of the SAGE (Semi Automatic Ground Environment) Center, located off of Taft Road. The center in Syracuse was the first out of many to be built across the country, and became operational in January 1959. It closed sometime in the early 1980s and has remained relatively abandoned since then. I could write several pages trying to explain what the SAGE Building was, but it would be much easier to provide a link. So, click here to read all about the history of this building. Go ahead, I'll wait...

In November 2005, thru a series of strange circumstances, I got a tour of the SAGE Center. Of course, I took several pictures along the way. Many of the sections of the building did not have electricity, so we had to use a flashlight on much of our journey. I just can not explain how big this building is once you get inside. Sure it looks big on the outside, but it somehow seems to get much bigger once you start walking around inside. There were just countless rooms in the center's three stories, with winding pathways and strange doorways and connecting stairwells. There were several times on our trip when I feared that we were lost and would have to spend hours trying to find our way out of this strange building. To add to the creepiness of the whole trip, I found out that cell phones would not work in the entire building. So, if we somehow got locked behind one of the large steel doors there was no way we could've gotten out on our own. As you can imagine, the building had also been vandalized many times over the years. I saw a lot of broken furniture, damaged walls, and graffiti throughout the center.

Ok, on to the photos. It seemed like there was a warning sign on almost every door we went in. The first two pictures are self-explanatory and the last is an obvious warning to any dragons that may try to enter the place.


The first picture below shows some of the equipment that was used to control the gates on the elevators. The second photo shows what was probably a "lounge" area, and the third shows some equipment lockers.

This next set of photos shows the technology that was used at the time. Now, the tasks performed by the equipment in one of these rooms could be performed by something that would fit in the palm of your hand.

Here are examples of some of the rooms. The first one contained a large chain link fence for some reason, and the second was perhaps some sort of training room.

Below are some examples of the vandalism I saw. In the last picture you can see some still-edible rations in the bags.

Speaking of vandalism, here are some examples of the graffiti I saw. I guess I wasn't the only one who felt "Lost".


Of course, there were many things to learn in the SAGE Center. How to tie a knot, how to use that red thing (I almost impaled myself on whatever it is), and how to add Security to every recipe.

The first picture below shows a small jail-like room behind a chain link fence (I have no idea what that strange blue mark is on the photo, it wasn't originally on the sign). The second shows one of the massive doors that I was afraid would close behind us, locking us in this empty building.


When I was there the current owners of the building were in the process of cleaning it out, perhaps in an effort to rent out different rooms. So, I was glad to be able to get some pictures of some of the old SAGE equipment while it was still there. It was definitely an interesting part of our country's history that I didn't know much about before I took the tour of this building.

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