Utica D-06 Nike Missile Site - Shelby Township MI

Address: 4101 River Bends Drive
City: Shelby Township
State: MI
Zip: 48317
County: Macomb
Number of visits to this page: 5202

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General Information:

Update 12-11-2023 from Bill S:

Back in the early 1980's I attended nearby Eisenhower High School (class of 1982). Around that timeframe a buddy and I were exploring the woods in this area, and found a large air vent protruding out of the ground.

We came back late that night armed with flashlights to further explore the area. We were able to pull the grate off the air vent, found a service ladder (welded to the inside of the vent pipe), and proceeded to climb down into the vent. It led us to a large underground room, appeared to be a control room of sorts, with a lot of wires and cables sticking out of walls, large built-in desks, etc. Found our way into another underground room that was huge, felt like a small gymnasium with extremely high ceilings. It was very eerie down there in the dark, seemed like we stepped into an abandoned building from another time period.

In hindsight many years later it was pretty stupid to do what we did. No one knew we were there, and could have easily of gotten trapped or hurt crawling around the underground passageways.

From Shelby Twp Website

Remains of the Utica D-06 Nike Missile Site in Shelby Township can be found in River Bends Park near the Burgess-Shadbush Nature Center at 4101 River Bends Drive.

The nature center covers the missile silo area, with the Ajax fuel mixing building's foundation still visible near the replica Pioneer Cabin.

Shortly after the turn of the 21st century, crews demolished the remaining missile support buildings, which acted as classrooms for Utica Community Schools.

The power building in the Integrated Fire Control area still stands, and the Shelby Township Parks, Recreation and Maintenance Department uses it for storage. Park visitors can find concrete pads for old radar units, the Hercules radar tower’s octagonal concrete footing and several barrack foundations east of the IFC. The basketball court, where service members played ball in their spare time, is east of the barrack foundations.

The Michigan State Register of Historic Places recognizes the Utica D-06 Nike Missile Site and the Spring Hill Farm with a marker near the Spring Hill Farm site.

Base history The U.S. Army leased sections of Spring Hill Farm for use as a Nike missile base in 1954. Fifteen such bases ringed Detroit to protect the city from Soviet bombers during the Cold War.

Construction began on the Utica D-06 site in 1955. To the east of the missile silos, earth berms surrounded the Ajax rocket fuel mixing building. Further east were missile support and command buildings along with the missile launch battalion’s quarters.

The IFC area included equipment, computer, and administration buildings and radars for tracking incoming bombers and outgoing missiles. To track outbound missiles, the Army stationed radars 1,000 yards away from the missile launchers. Other radar units Located on concrete towers tracked incoming bombers.

Armed with 20 Ajax missiles, the Army dedicated the operational Utica D-06 site in October of 1957.

In 1962, the Hercules missile replaced the Ajax missile. The Hercules missile had improved range and accuracy. One Hercules missile equipped with a nuclear warhead could eliminate several bombers, while Ajax missiles could only take out one bomber at a time.

The Army outfitted the IFC area at D-06 with additional radar and equipment to accommodate Hercules missiles. The base's silos could house only 12 of the larger Hercules missiles.

As Cold War attack strategies shifted from bombers to intercontinental ballistic missiles, Ajax and Hercules missiles became obsolete. In April 1974, the Army deactivated Utica D-06.

Crews filled in silos and underground bunkers and leveled the fuel-mixing berms. They demolished all the buildings except some of the missile launch support buildings east of the silos and the power building installed in the IFC area when the Army converted the site to the Hercules missile system.

Following decommissioning, the Army returned the entire property to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources jurisdiction.

Click the following links for locations of interest nearby:
Info Updates:
3/8/2024 - William Kiefer
Greetings; While I have no information concerning the D06 Missle Site, I lived on the corner of Rex & Powers Ct in the late 60s - early 70s & wasn't aware of its existence until 2013. Correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't that have been near Rochester-Utica Park? It must have been fascinating making that discovery in '82. Best, William Kiefer
Utica D-06 Nike Missile Site - From Nike Hercules Website
From Nike Hercules Website
Utica D-06 Nike Missile Site - From Shelby Twp Website
From Shelby Twp Website
Utica D-06 Nike Missile Site - From Shelby Twp Website
From Shelby Twp Website
Utica D-06 Nike Missile Site - From Shelby Twp Website
From Shelby Twp Website
Utica D-06 Nike Missile Site - Construction From Shelby Twp Website
Construction From Shelby Twp Website
Utica D-06 Nike Missile Site - From Shelby Twp Website
From Shelby Twp Website
Utica D-06 Nike Missile Site - From Shelby Twp Website
From Shelby Twp Website
Utica D-06 Nike Missile Site - Historical Marker
Historical Marker
Utica D-06 Nike Missile Site - Current Aerial Photo - Gone
Current Aerial Photo - Gone
Utica D-06 Nike Missile Site - 1964 Aerial Photo
1964 Aerial Photo
Utica D-06 Nike Missile Site - 2016 Street View
2016 Street View
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