When I was very young, I would sometimes visit the Museum of Science and Industry at 57th and Lake Shore Drive in Chicago. As we rounded the last turn of LSD, we would pass Promontory Point. And I would stare as we passed. Because there they were — large radar units and imposing batteries of Nike missiles pointed skyward. Site C-41 was part of the Army Air Defense Command (ARADCOM). C-41 was just one of many Nike batteries in Chicago’s Cold War missile defense shield from 1953 to 1971. There were Nike missile batteries and radar units literally ringing the Chicago area (and surrounding every major city in America). Waiting. Watching. Vigilant. Prepared to dispatch hordes of missiles skyward at the first sign of a Russian attack.
I also remember a similar installation across from Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights. This military compound (C-80) was opened in 1942 to hold about 75 German prisoners of war. It debuted as a Nike site in 1955. Today, there are few remnants left of this part of America’s history. A few old buildings. Some concrete slabs. A few photos like the one below. And the memories of those who remember. . . . .