DC Park Was A Former Cold War Missile Site

DC Park Was A Former Cold War Missile Site

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DC Park Was A Former Cold War Missile Site

Scattered around suburban Washington DC lie the remains of 30 Cold War missile sites built to protect against surprise Soviet attack. The missiles are long gone, but if you look closely, you can still see relics from that anxious period in US history.

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Male Speaker: Most people wouldn't think twice about the name of Great Falls Nike Park. The park is home to athletic fields and Nike makes athletic apparel. It would make sense if that's where the name came from.

Male Speaker: I think most folks here in Great Falls, especially kids assume that, feel Nike outbid Under Armour, Adidas, and Reebok for the naming rights.

Male Speaker: In reality, the park gets its name from the Nike Missile Site that used to occupy this same piece of land. The site was 1 of 30 just like it which made up an air defense network that encircled the DC, Baltimore area during the Cold War.

Male Speaker: In the early 1950s, American policymakers feared the prospect of a surprised Soviet bomber attack and so they worried that with very little warning, massive waves of Soviet bombers might approach and they needed to devise a system that would be able to respond such a thing.

Male Speaker: What was once the missile site is now split between Turner Farm Park and Great Falls Nike Park. While most of the site has been dismantled, you can still find evidence of its existence. A concrete slab set out of the ground next to the tennis courts. It is all that remains of the bunker which used to house the missiles themselves. At the control site a mile to the East, two of the three radar towers still stand, although they had been renovated in recent years. The control site is now home to a playground, equestrian course, and an observatory/sundial garden that has become a fieldtrip destination for local schools.

Male Speaker: We have offered to develop a park for the Fairfax County Park Authority to teach science to young children and their parents through astronomy.

Male Speaker: During the Cold War, area residents couldn't have been happier to have these weapons so close to their homes.

Male Speaker: While most cities, citizens and neighbors welcome the development and deployment of these weapons, they too feared the prospect of a surprise Soviet bomber attack and they were comforted to know that the Army and the Air Force and other services were erecting these weapons nearby.

Male Speaker: The site served as a constant reminder of the fear which defined the Cold War. Thankfully, they were never called into action and all 30 sites were decommissioned without ever firing a single missile.