Monday, May 19, 2008

Cold War Missiles on Chicago Lakefront

About a year ago I learned that Montrose Harbor in Chicago (Google Map) was once the site of a cold war era missile defense installation called a "Nike Missile Base". Back then I searched around for historical photos and couldn't find any.

Along comes a website from Michael Epperson on Nike Missile Site C-41 with tons of photos and information on this little known facet of Chicago history. Michael mostly covers the installation just south of Montrose at Jackson Park, which is no less interesting, but includes a picture of the Montrose installation as well (at left).

The site has a fantastic amount of related material on the Nike Missile system in general. Nike was a turnkey system that was installed all over the US. The site has a 30 minute video with typical cold war era production values, but with more subtle propaganda techniques than is typical for the era. It starts with kids playing and an alert adult concerned by the shadow of a plane flying by. It turns out to come from a kid's glider. The film chooses to avoid obvious scare tactics, and instead lays out an informative description of how the system works and the personnel that support it. There are also original operating manuals. Very enjoyable site for tech geeks to spend an hour perusing.

1 comment:

Burnt Village said...

Hi - Thanks for documenting the missiles. I was a kid back then, and I remember that the city lit up the missiles with multi-colored spotlights. I wonder if anyone else recalls this. All I have ever seen is black & white photographs.

Memory fading!