Saturday, November 21, 2015

A visit to Lake Chabot Park to explore Nike Missile Site SF-31L/C: 21 November 2015

Nike Missile site SF-31 had two components that by design were physically located in two separate locations. The locations are about 1.5 miles from one another.

1. One component is the Nike Missile launching site (SF-31L), where the missiles were stored underground and were able to be fired towards incoming airplanes, in the event of an enemy attack by air. An East Bay Regional Park service yard now occupies the former Nike missile launching site. The service yard is closed to the public, but friendly service yard personnel allowed me the opportunity to walk through the site and photograph the remnants of the Nike missile battery. Two of the underground Nike Missile storage/launching sites are currently visible in the service yard. 

2. The second location of the Nike Missile site is the radar communications and control facility (SF-31C). I left the East Bay Regional service yard and drove about two miles west on Fairmont Drive. I then parked in the small parking lot at the beginning of the Fairmont Ridge Trail. It is the trail that leads to the former Nike Missile radar location (SF-31C) where missile targeting and fire control took place. The former Nike Missile radar site is now occupied by the radio transmission tower of KYA-FM San Francisco, and microwave repeater communication antennas. 


An East Bay Regional Parks service yard now occupies the former Nike missile launch battery site. Click on the image to see the full-size photo.
Click on the image to see the full-size map.
The remains of a hydraulic lift used both to store missiles underground and also raise missiles to ground level for firing. After the missiles had been raised, the missiles were rolled by hand a short distance from the hydraulic lift, raised up and put into firing position. These were surface to air missiles with a range of between 25 and 50 miles. They were designed to protect the continental US from an enemy attack from the air. The Cold War was active at the time, and the main concern was that the Russians would launch a surprise attack. Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.
The missile storage areas are still underground. Each storage area was capable of storing 8 Nike missiles. I was able to locate two underground storage areas. The storage areas are located about 30 feet underground. An underground storage area interior dimensions are about 40 feet wide by 75 feet long and 15 feet high. Click on the image to see the full-size photo.
I believe this was designed to be an emergency exit from the underground missile storage area. Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.
Here is a second missile storage area/firing area hydraulic lift. I was able to locate two hydraulic lifts on the East Bay Regional Park site. Click on the image to see the full-size photo.
This view is looking west at Fairmont Ridge. Fairmont Ridge was the location of the Nike missile radar installation. Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.
At the end of the Fairmont Ridge Trail is the entry to the former SF-31C Nike Missile Radar Station. The site is currently being used as an FM radio transmitter location, and it is fenced and inaccessible to the public. Click on the image to see the full-size photo.
 Inside the radar station site. Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.
The guard post located at the main entrance to the radar station site. Click on the image to see the full-size photo.
Inside the radar station site. Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.

“A camera is a tool for learning how to see without a camera.”-Dorothea Lange

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