Nike Missile Site W-64 – Lorton, Virginia - Atlas Obscura

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Nike Missile Site W-64

This field of concrete was once an active defense site armed with nuclear warheads. 


Site W-64 was one of three Nike Missile sites in Fairfax County, Virginia in the late 1950s, and one of 13 such sites that encircled the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, poised to respond to any attack on the country and capital during the height of the Cold War. 

The Lorton site was designated as the “National NIKE Site” by then-Secretary of the Army Charles C. Finucane and hosted foreign dignitaries, along with local and national politicians.

Initially, the site was equipped with Nike Ajax missiles when it opened in 1954, but these were upgraded to Nike Hercules missiles in 1958. The site was decommissioned in 1973.

The facility has been surprisingly well maintained. The large launch area features elevators, hatches, and other underground structures that have been capped in concrete or welded shut. Many of the original buildings have been razed, but the fire control and administrative buildings are still intact though in need of renovations.

Know Before You Go

The site has been under the purview of Fairfax County since 2002. There have been talks of building a Cold War museum on the property.

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