Eerie Abandoned Missile Sites in Washington Are a stark reminder of the Cold War
At one time the United States had approximately 265 Nike Missile Sites throughout the country. The vast majority of these sites have been "obliterated or decommissioned". Others have turned into parks, donated to school districts, and even turned into private residences.
Named after the goddess of victory in Greek Mythology, "Nike". Project Nike was an anti-aircraft missile system designed to shoot down the Russian Intercontinental Biolistic Missile (ICBM). ICBM's had a range of 3500 miles and could carry a nuclear warhead. Only Russia, China, and the United States had them during the Cold War.
At one time, Washington State had 18 Nike Missile locations including the Hanford Defense Area (H), with missiles at Rattlesnake Mountain, Saddle Mountain, Priest Rapids, and Othello. These sites replaced actual gun batteries in the 1950s with one goal in mind, to defend the United States from a Soviet ICBM attack - literally as our last line of defense. The Rattlesnake Mountain site is pictured below.
With the exception of Rattlesnake Mountain, the sites near Tri-Cities and in Eastern Washington have been decommissioned and obliterated. The Rattlesnake Mountain area is currently used as a lab.
Other sites around the state have transformed into parks (Nike Park, Redmond), FAA facilities, outdoor gaming areas, military operations, and even private residences.