Fascinating Photos of the Bunkers, Hatches + Rubble of an Abandoned Missile Site in CT
I’m not a person who can understand military language very well, so explaining the history of the Nike missile program could be a heavy lift for me. Thankfully I’ve been given a no-nonsense education from one of my friends, a skilled researcher named Mike Allen.
Mike is I95’s former News Director, and he does a weekly guest spot on the Ethan & Lou Show called “The Place You Live” where he does a deep dive into local history.
Last Year (March 2021) Mike told us the story of decommissioned Nike Missile Site in Shelton, CT and I’ll be using his research on that story to help me explain this one about the Portland & Glastonbury Nike installation. This will help provide you a baseline to understanding the importance of the images we will be looking at.
This is some of what Allen told us in 2021:
"Most people have completely forgotten that these sites were there. Now, others trumpet it, literally have signs out from that say Nike Site and come one, come all and most of them now are recreational sites.
I just have got to tell you a little bit, I won't get too technical in detail on this, but this was the whole strategy on this. They had what was called an Ajax missile. Now first of all, the Nike missile program, everybody's heard about Nike. Nike is the Greek Goddess of victory and, of course, the military loves these code names.
So, they had Nike-Ajax missiles and Nike-Hercules Missiles. Nike-Ajax was designed, one missile for one plane and on the tip of that missile was something that's called a high explosive fragmentary bomb. So, they shoot the missile up there, explode it, take the plane out, explode it. You're good.
Well as the Soviet's started building more and more planes, they said, you know that strategy is not going to work. They're going to bring in multiple planes in squadrons and one Ajax missile is not going to defend against that. So, they came out with the Hercules missile and on the tip of the Hercules missile was not a fragmentary bomb, but a nuclear bomb.
So, there were two prongs to this, number one was, let's get people inside the bunkers so we have a civilization to come out to. Even the Federal Reserve Bank had a bunker that they had a billion dollars in cash in. So, if there was nuclear war and devastation, they could come out and they'd have some currency to hand out to get the economy jump-started again.
I mean, this is how people think about it and strategize about it and one of the tough decisions that was made was, part two of the strategy -- we're going to have missile sites around the country defending the most important cities.
Well, which cities were those? Well obviously, New York was there, D.C. was there. Connecticut had two cities and they were Hartford and Bridgeport.
At the time, they were considered crucial to the war effort so they had Hartford which was the insurance capital of the world and they were making plane engines up there in Bridgeport -- making a lot of munitions.
Now, once you were on this list, there were only about 40 cities around the country that were on this list. But, once you're on it, then you've got six missile sites surrounding your city that were going to shoot down Soviet planes if they came in with a bomb.
So, from 1945-1975, the technology was, if you were going to deliver a nuclear bomb to another country and there were only two countries, it was the United States and Soviet Union were the super powers and that was the nuclear arms race.
You had to actually fly it in an airplane over the country and drop it. That's how it was, you didn't have the ICBM's that you have today where you can push a button and it flies over on its own. So, the thought was, OK, if they come in with a plane, we're going to have to shoot it down before they get to their target.
So, that's why they were going to have these missile sites and they were going to be able to surround the cities and get them from different angles where the plane could be coming in from and that's what they were looking to do."
Now that we've given some background on the Nike Missile program and sites, it's easier to digest what we are about to look at. These are images taken from a Youtube video that explores an abandoned Nike missile site in Portland / Glastonbury, CT.
Fascinating Images of the Bunkers + Rubble From an Abandoned Missile Site in CT
I’m wildly impressed by the time, research and effort that went into producing this and I highly recommend you subscribe to this channel because this video is one of a handful of others like it. Check out the video below.
P.S. The video is tagged with the following description about the missile site:
“Join me as I explore an abandoned Cold War relic, Nike Missile Base HA-36 in Portland and Glastonbury, Connecticut. This was filmed over a few visits during December 2021. * I have sometimes seen this site referred to as HA-26. However, based upon my research, this is incorrect. The correct name of the base appears to be HA-36. Watch my video for the history and details of this missile site, or visit the websites below, which is where I obtained most of the historical information.”
It was uploaded to Youtube on January 9, 2022.