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Neighbor Mike and I visited the abandoned Mt. Gleason Nike Missile Site a while back. Here is a link to the full adventure.
This video is a compilation of a few moments that didn’t make the main cut. Rumor has it that the Nike Site is actively being dismantled.
#mtgleason #nikemissile #LA-04 #outtakes #adventure #explore #septictanks
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In this episode, Neighbor Mike and I travel to an abandoned Cold War Nike Missile installation situated near Mount Gleason (~6520 ft.), deep in the Angeles National Forest. As the crow flies, this is just 23 miles north of downtown Los Angeles.
FUN FACT – Angeles National Forest is the oldest national forest in California and is California Historical Landmark #717.
Beginning in 1958, many of these missile sites were equipped with the new Nike Hercules Missile that carried either a 2kt or 20kt nuclear warhead.
With only a 100 mile range, the Nike Hercules missiles were the last line of defence against a Russian (or Chinese) attack of bombers or ICBMs.
Here is an AT&T (formly Western Electric) historical video with excellent information about the cold war missile defense.
It is fascinating how quickly this project went from idea to construction and implementation.
Los Angeles had 16 of these Nike Missile sites defending the LA basin. Chicago and New York City were surrounded by about 20 of these sites each. Here is a comprehensive list of the Nike Sites throughout the United States. You can see if there were any installations in your area or state.
The Mount Gleason Nike Missile Installation, denoted LA-04, was operational from 1955 to 1974. At over 6500 feet, this was the highest Nike Missile Site in the country.
The Mt. Gleason site was closed in 1974 and the property was returned to the forest service.
In 1979, this site was converted to a Los Angeles County prison fire camp #16. https://www.cdcr.ca.gov/Conservation_Camps/
In late August of 2009, the Station Fire burned the Angeles National Forest, consuming over 160,000 acres. On August 30th, the fire destroyed the Mt. Gleason site. Two firefighters died while trying to save the camp. Captain Tedmund “Ted” Hall and Engineer Arnie Quinones. There is a memorial near the site of Camp 16.
The site/camp is now abandoned and was mostly destroyed by the fire. A few concrete structures remain in the (1) Administrative and (2) Launch areas. The (3) IFC area on top of Mount Gleason is completely demolished, except for a large water tank.
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