Friday Eye Candy: The Nuclear Missile Sites of Los Angeles
Geoff Manaugh writes:
During the Cold War, many missile defense sites—precisely because their purpose was to guard infrastructure of vital national interest—were housed in urban or suburban locations. Los Angeles in particular, thanks to its aerospace facilities, military bases, and booming postwar population, became one of the most fortified regions in the United States.
A surprisingly long list, and corresponding collection of satellite images, follows that statement, showing locations around the city that are familiar to even short-term residents of Los Angeles. Manaugh also notes another variety of former nuclear facility found in the region:
In other cases, L.A.'s former missile sites have blended back into the natural landscape with an ease that is both ecologically inspiring and somewhat disconcerting, with nature's apparent triumph serving as an acknowledgement of the narrowly averted horrors of nuclear war. The launch site known as LA-43L is now a public park and "nature education center" near the coast west of Long Beach. Aside from an aging concrete pad beneath which missiles were once kept, the most distinctive feature of the landscape today is a Native Plant Demonstration Garden.
The article includes lots of links to previous coverage of the facilities, as well as the kicker: these facilities, found in cities all over the country, "remain an otherworldly reminder of how close our nation came to doomsday."