“radar tower turned viewing platform”
Abandoned Nike acquistion radar tower (1956-1968) converted to a public viewing platform. It is one of the most advantageous views of LA. You can see the San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles Basin and the Ocean. On a good day you will be able to see Santa Catalina Island, Santa Barbara Island, and snow on Mount Baldy. After the Nike site was closed in 1968, it became the biggest party site for teenagers and beer bottles littered the area. In 1996 the site became a nationally recognized park where they refurbished the old tower and added easy access to the tower of concrete paths and metal staircase to the observation deck. Most of these Nike bases are gutted, stripped to the ground or totally obliterated. A handful remain in near-pristine condition. An even smaller handful have been turned into museum-like anthropological exhibits by local park agencies. This one such former base is on San Vicente Peak, not quite 2,000 feet above sea level, about one mile west of the locked gate on Mulholland Drive. Although most of LA-96C's installations have been removed, a few points of interest remain, assisted by interpretive signs placed by park rangers. Visitors are encouraged to push or pull any button or lever found at the site in the hopes of possibly activating a dormant warning siren. LA-96C was an integrated fire control facility. it contained no missiles or launchers, just the radar that would spot incoming threats and the fire control capability to respond at a remote site. (The missiles safeguarded to LA-96C were located at one end of Balboa Park in the Valley, where an air national guard station still stands.) Elsewhere, a wild cactus garden blooms behind a chain link fence. (Remnants of an original garden tended by bored and lonely soldiers in the base's heyday?) Mostly, though, LA-96C fades away into the mists of Cold War history. This is an intentional death. Park rangers have decided not to combat the effects of nature on the base, though they will keep it open and accessible to the public as long as nature intends it to be visited. The picnic bench in the above photo was gone by the end of 2008, but there is still a coin opperated (one quarter) telescope up there, with which to take in the 360 degree view.
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LA96C-Former NIKE Missile Control Site
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