Thursday, April 28, 2011

Nike Missile Site - Encino, CA

This morning we spent some time at a Cold War era Nike missile site located at the top of the Santa Monica Mountains in the Encino area.  This was one of many air defense system sites located throughout the United States under the name "Project Nike"; these sites were designed to deal with the growing threat posed by a new generation of long range bomber aircraft being developed by the Soviets, especially after the USSR developed its own atomic bomb.  This site in particular was in use between 1957 and 1974 (according to wikipedia).   As the Soviets shifted tactics from long range bombers to ICBMs, the perceived need for the Nike system decreased; all Nike sites were eventually inactivated by 1974.  A concise history of the program is at this website.

The platform on top of the tower commands panoramic views of the entire region.  This installation feels like an old wartime relic - well it is - but it's a bit weird for someone like me who remembers the Cold War.  I was four at the time the station was decommissioned, but my memories of the threat posed by the USSR stretch back to a very early time, down to the elementary school nuclear attack drills....

Here's a few pictures, and of course the now requisite slideshow beyond the jump.





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