"The Launch Area provided for maintenance, storage, testing, and firing of the Nike missiles. The selection of this area was primarily influenced by the relatively large amount of lanf required, its suitability to extensive underground construction, and the need to maintain a clear line-of-sight between the missiles in the Launch Area and the missile-tracking radar in the Battery Control Area." -- Last Line of Defense, Nike Missile Sites in Illinois

Sentry Guardhouse Base

Sentry guardhouse base at launch area main entrance

"Sentry guardhouses -- small, square structures with cinder-block walls -- were at the entrances to all portions of a Nike missile base. In addition, as part of base security, two lines of fencing and a firebreak marked the boundaires of the installation." -- Last Line of Defense

Ready building and fallout shelter

Fallout shelter and ready building

"Typical of most Nike base buildings, the ready building was a vernacular, one-story structure with cinder-block walls. The building included a squad room, a dining and day room, toilet, and heater room." -- Last Line of Defense

generator building and warheading building behind protective berms

Generator building and warheading building behind protective earth berms

"Electric power for the underground magazines was supplied by 150-kilowatt, 60-cycle diesel generators, or commercial sources when available. Direct 60-cycle power was used for the elevator. Where 400-cycle power was required, the 60-cycle power was converted to 400-cycle power by means of frequency converters (changers)." -- Last Line of Defense

H2O treatment, pumping and storage bldg; missile test and assembly building; and generator building

Water treatment, pumping and storage building; missile test and assembly building; and generator building

"Typical of all Nike missile installations (sites) had their own water treatment and sewage facilities. Depending on location, these base facilities might include wells, pumphouses, sewage lagoons, holding tanks, and/or septic tanks.

"Missiles arrived at Nike bases unassembled and unarmed, as peacetime Interstate Commerce Commission restrictions prevented the transporting of ready missiles from a central assembly site. In the Missile Assembly and Test Building and its adjacent hardstand, Nike crews uncrated, assembled, and tested the missiles." -- Last Line of Defense

Missile test and assembly building

Missile test and assembly building

"The Missile Test and Assembly Building had two large, garage-like doors at either end, through which the missiles were rolled in and out. In addition to the main test and assembly room, the building included a stock room, first aid room, restroom, and boiler room. A concrete walkway for missile movement connected the Missile Test and Assembly Building with the acid fueling station." -- Last Line of Defense

warheading building and acid fueling station

Warheading building and acid fueling station surround by earthen berms

"For safety in the event of explosion, the missile warheading operations were also perfermed at the acid fueling station, which was encircled by an earthen berm approximately eight to teen feet high. The warheading process basically involved installing two arming devices, the warheads, and connecting these components with the detonating cord." -- Last Line of Defense

Staircase to underground storage magazine

Personnel access staircase to underground storage magazine (now flooded)

"Stairways led to the double-door main entrances to the magazines. (Access to many Nike magazines was solely via armored hatches and vertical ladders. The staircases were later additions, which many Nike installations never received.)" -- Last Line of Defense

Armored hatch

Emergency escape hatch from underground personnel room

"Emergency escape hatches, with counter-weights for easy opening, led from the underground personnel rooms to the inside." -- Last Line of Defense

Overview of staircase and vents

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Photo credits: Chris Hedges
Photo caption information:
Don Peterson and Last Line of Defense, Nike Missile Sites in Illinois, National Park Service, Rocky Moutain System Support Office, Denver 1996

All images (c) 1998, Christopher C. Hedges, All Rights Reserved

Updated: May 2, 1998

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