Nike HA-85 Avon/Simsbury

If you were stationed at this Nike site, or any of the nearby sites in CT or MA, we'd love to hear from you. Please contact us at

This site was operational from
1956 - 1963.
Missile type was Ajax only, Nike 1B, 2C/30A/12L-A.

The Nike launch site and barracks were dedicated on May 18, 1957. It
was located west of Hopmeadow Street (Rt.10) between Old Meadow Plain Road and Lincoln Lane. The lower section, near Hopmeadow Street, is now the location of the Tower View Apartments/Condominiums, directly across the street from Northeast Utilities. The underground missile batteries were filled in with sand decades ago for safety reasons.
      The radar control site was in the town of Avon, in the Talcott Mountain State Forest area. It is now the site of the Talcott Mountain Science Center.
     At one point the Federal Government had acquired additional acreage along Hopmeadow Street north of the Nike site as potential housing for personnel stationed at this site. This never materialized. In 1962 the property (5.4 acres) was offered to the town for $2,300 (exactly half the going rate) which the town was happy to purchase. There was a stipulation in the deal that stated the land had to be used for community purposes for at least twenty years after the sale which lead to the recreational field called "Weatogue Park." 
      The Nike defense system utilized two different types of missiles: Ajax and Hercules with Simsbury's site utilizing the Ajax. The Simsbury Historical Society provided three photographs from the site. These show the opening ceremonies from May 18, 1957. One photo has a great crowd shot which shows some Simsbury residents looking on. The other, I believe, shows Lt. Col. Richard E. Lowry (the site's Commanding Officer) shaking hands with an unidentified officer. The other clearly shows the Ajax missiles at various launch angles.  Nike missiles were always launches almost straight up but we have seen shots like this one where the missiles were staged at different angles for effect.  (The missiles were launched at a slight angle from vertical so that the booster rockets wouldn't fall back down on the launch site but instead will impact an area a mile or so from the battery.  Sites were located so that this impact area was sparcely populated.

Launcher area: Simsbury

Launch site dedication, May 18, 1957

Lt. Col. Richard E. Lowry (the site's Commanding Officer) shaking hands with an
 unidentified officer.

Ajax missile battery in Simsbury. Condos now sit on this location (see below).

Looking up the access road.

The only remaining building from the Nike days. 

The original security fencing at the Simsbury site topped with barbed wire
can still be seen if you look closely enough.

Entrance to former launch area.

This is a view of the former Avon Nike Integrated Fire Control (Radar) site from the former launch site.  The site has been occupied by the Talcott Mountain Science Center for the last thirty years and the radar that can be seen in the picture is used for weather forecasting.  The two sites had to be within a few miles of each other and the radar site had to be able to "see" the launch site in order for the missiles to be directed to their targets by radar control.

Access road to the Avon radar site at the end of Montevideo Rd. 
The guard shack was on the right just past the stop sign.

Access road to the radar platforms which now support observatories for the
Talcott Mountain Science Center.

Nike sites required lots of power.  Here you can see the three phase power lines and some phone lines going up the hill  to the Avon site.

Aerial view of the Nike IFC site on
Talcott Mtn in 
Bloomfield, CT.  c. 1960.
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