September 22, 2015
Feel like a guided tour through history this weekend? What about some very recent — but very important — history? And what if your tour guides were men who had actually lived the history they were showing you?
Sounds pretty cool, right?
Well put this Sunday the 27th on your calendar, because that’s the next time Nike veterans will be giving a guided tour of Fort Hancock in Sandy Hook!
The Fort, The Site, and Soaking in the History
Although Fort Hancock was built in 1895, the tour’s focus is more recent: it starts in the year 1954, when the Fort became one of the Army’s Nike missile sites. Fort Hancock, coded as NY-56, was one of a series of Nike missile sites that formed a protective circle around New York City.
The purpose of the site was to act as a last line of defense against a possible Soviet nuclear attack. The Nike missiles housed in the facility were supersonic, and designed to take down bomber aircraft. At first they were armed with conventional explosives, but an improved design introduced in 1958 — the Nike Hercules — allowed them to carry nuclear warheads. The site was deactivated in 1974 and turned over to the National Park Service. It lay defunct and abandoned until 2001, when the National Park Service took further interest in the site and began to clean it up and purchase extra equipment to display.
There are three areas of exhibits: the launching area, integrated fire control, and Guardian Park. The launching area houses both an example of each type of Nike missile, displayed on their launchers. If you are on a special tour (these occur only a few times per year), you can also go and see the underground areas where missiles were stored. You can take any tour to see integrated fire control, the control area bedecked with computers and wall radars. And you can pay your respects at Guardian Park to those who lost their lives to the accidental explosion of several (non-nuclear) Nike missiles.
Since the veterans are still around to answer questions and tell their stories, this piece of history is still alive, and even more fascinating. Both adults and kids will love the history, the exhibits, and the memories that can be found at this Fort. And while you may not be able to fly through the air like a missile, you can at least glide over the water in comfort with Seastreak. We know you’ll have a… blast.
Sea you Soon!
The Seastreak Family
Filed Under: Fort Hancock