2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 8 Sep 2003 14:14:25 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Historic preservation advocates, Army at odds over missile site
Summit squabble
Historic preservation advocates, Army at odds over missile site
By Doug O'Harra
(Published: September 7, 2003)

On a mountain ridge with an airliner's view of a toy-city Anchorage and
surrounding country, the two-story command post and barracks for a
historic anti-aircraft missile installation looked like it had been
under savage attack.

Shotgun blasts from vandals had punched holes in plywood bolted over
windows. A chunk of its outside wall had been peeled off, exposing an
interior crawl space. Winter storms had chewed up a roof repair, with
the interior ceiling collapsing into a soggy pile on the common room

"That roof repair was supposed to help dry out the interior," Russell
Sackett, a cultural and historic resources specialist at Fort
Richardson, said as he peered into the building Friday morning. "But
it's failed now. I think it bought us two years."

One of three Nike bases rimming Anchorage and its military posts during
the Cold War, Site Summit operated for 20 years above Arctic Valley Road
with an around-the-clock crew and a mission to blast Soviet bombers from
the sky with nuclear-tipped Hercules missiles. One old launch area still
contains the rusting tracks for moving the rockets into place, standing
just above the holiday star still lit each winter by the Army.

Like other Anchorage Nike bases at Goose Bay and what is now Kincaid
Park, Site Summit was shut down in 1979, its missiles made obsolete by
deadlier weapons, its buildings abandoned to the wind.

But the site was never forgotten. Microwave communication towers now use
its electric grid, and its outer slopes and access road fall within the
danger zone of an Army practice range.

It's also been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since
1996 and touted as a potential park or tourist destination by numerous

Now the Army wants to tear down the structures after recording their
layout and history. Officials say the asbestos-laden buildings, leaky
bunkers and creaky radar towers present a danger to people who illegally
explore and vandalize the site.

But historic preservation advocates have countered that the Army is
moving too fast.

This article can be viewed at:

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