The Malibu Nike Launch Site has been on my wish list for a while now. Yesterday we visited some adventurous friends in Topanga Canyon who were interested in seeing this odd bit of history in their back yard, so off we went.
Apparently, the Malibu Nike site was one of hundreds in the U.S. and was one of the very first ones. Like all Nike installations the launch and IFC (integrated fire control) sites were in different locations. In this case the launch site is at 1900 Rambla Pacifico and the IFC site is up a mile or so, near Mulholland, at 24666 W. Saddle Peak Rd.
(I don't know how the older B&W photos above relate to this place. They may be shots of the same location before it was partially dismantled and converted, or may be of the IFC facility up the hill, or may be a different facility altogether.)
We visited the launch site, which is now used by the L.A. County Fire Department. We had no idea what to expect but were given a friendly reception, and an informal but very interesting tour of the place. Here are some photos I took.
We passed by the more typical fire fighter's offices and equipment rooms near the entrance to the property and walked towards the edge of the hill where the 3 launch platforms were installed, pausing to admire this old sign:
Control tower overlooking the site:
One of the missile elevators, and the stairway leading down to the missile battery. The big round things are counterweights that make the doors easier to open. The firefighting helicopter was parked behind here:
The steel covers on the top of the missile elevator:
Opening the stairway door:
Looking down the stairway into the underground room. The missiles were stored here, the large elevator lifted them to the surface:
The former missile storage room is now a training room. The normally cheerful Mrs. 3940 eyes me warily -- probably because she didn't want to be in the photo. Too late.
The control box that operates the missile elevator, which still works:
One of the two hydraulic lifts that raise and lower the platform:
Luckily it was not a hectic afternoon for the firefights and one of the guys, who also was interested in the history of the place, took a few minutes to show us around. The hospitality was really appreciated. You could tell that the team was very professional and able.
All my photos.