|Edward and Dianna Peden live in a refurbished Atlas E site near Topeka, Kansas, and by the spring of 1995 were attracting considerable media interest. It was the idea of Tim Schwartz to buy more of these properties and offer them for resale. Time called the partnership that formed "20th Century Castles" because the properties are the hardened defense-works of this century, modern counterparts to the medevial castles of Europe. Three Atlas E properties in Kansas were offered for sale that year. As media exposure continued to expand worldwide, the company began extensive research to locate all of the first generation sites that were built throughout the U.S. We found many properties to be owned by cities, counties, school districts, water companies and other commerical entities. About half the properties are privately owned. All owners of first generation sites were contacted and negotiation began to acquire options to buy. By the spring of 1996, 20th Century Castles offered 12 properties for sale. Sales were active through the spring and summer as the Pedens appeared on Dateline, Oprah, and CBS Sunday Morning, plus 3 Japanese, 3 German, and many other foreign and domestic news slots. Articles appeared in People Magazine, Der Spiegel, Popular Science and most major newspapers throughout the U.S., and in the foreign press from London to Hong Kong. We were amazed by the interest focused on the old facilities.
By 1997, Tim had purchased his own Atlas F site and left 20th Century Castles to work full time transforming the site into his home. The company is now operated by Ed and Dianna Peden from their underground office near Topeka, KS. At this time over a dozen properties have been sold and the Pedens plan to continue to continue in the specialized marketing niche even as properties dwindle in availability.