During the Cold War, the American government began constructing missile launch sites all over the country, never dreaming that they would one day be shut down and converted into public parks, as in the case of Illinois’ Nike Park.
Once part of a larger Nike Missile complex (Nike C-72), the Nike Park land was given over to the Addison Park District after the missiles, launchers, and most of the equipment was removed, and the site decommissioned. Unfortunately, no evidence of the launch site exists any longer, as it now part of the Fullerton County Forest Preserve. The radar installation and control tower located on the northwest end of the base, however, still stand in what is now Nike Park, surrounded by baseball diamonds, tennis courts, and a playground.
While all of the munitions have been removed from the site, one of the decomissioned missiles is still on display in nearby Villa Park, Illinois, in front of the town’s VFW hall.
Most public parks take safety very seriously, but this may be the only park that was once equipped to respond to an international war.
Know Before You Go
Can be hard to find. Park entrance is on east side of Rohling Rd between two businesses, with only a small sign to alert you of it's presence.
There's a parking lot on S. Grace St., opposite 475 S. Grace St. There's a large sign for "Fullerton County Forest Preserve" and "Helicopter Field." From Google Maps, it appears that the structure is to the west from the parking lot. Also, off W. Fullerton Ave. is the Addison water storage tank. Taking the road to the tank, turning right just before the tank and then left should lead directly to the tower.