Detroit - Cleveland

Defense Area

Site D-69 - Rouge Park

Unit: 1/55 - 6/57, Battery C, 504th USA
6/57 - 9/58, Battery A, 18th USA
9/58 - 11/59, Battery A, 4th Battalion, 3rd USA
11/59 - 2/63, Battery B, 1st Battalion, 177th MIARNG
Activation Date: January 1955
De-activation Date: February 1963
IFC Area: Southwest corner of Joy Rd. and Trinity St.
GPS: +42° 21' 23", -83° 14' 52"
Launch Area: West side of Outer Drive South of Joy Road
GPS: +42° 21' 30", -83° 15' 20"
Radar(s): LOPAR
Missiles: 20 Ajax
Magazine(s): 2 type B
Launchers: 8 Ajax
Current Status: Apparently, the City of Detroit wasted no time in demolishing the Nike sites within their borders.  This site was no exception.  The Launcher Area is long gone and the only traces of it can be seen from the satellite photo below where you can make out differences in the terrain where the site once stood.  The IFC resided just north of what is now Lessenger Middle School. It, too, was quickly removed upon closure.

D-69 as seen in 1961.

D-69 Launcher Area as seen in 1961.

D-69 IFC Area as seen in 1961.

D-69 Admin Area as seen in 1961. The road to the East is Outer Dr. Note the Helo Pad outlined in the grass.

d69l.jpg (43452 bytes)

This image is from the Microsoft TerraServer and was taken on 6 June 1988.

Memo documenting the personnel assignments for Emergency Equipment Maintenance for all Detroit Nike Sites. Contributed by Linda Klais. 395k
29k bytes This was the Launcher area.  This view is looking south.

Formerly Used Defense Sites Public Geographic Information System

Property Name:


Latitude: 42° 21' 30" N
Longitude: 83° 15' 20" W
County: WAYNE 
State: MI 
Corps Geographic Office: Louisville District (LRL) 
Point of Contact: LRL Public Affairs Office 
Public Affairs Office
Phone Number:
Status on National
Priorities List:
Not Listed 
EPA Region:
Congressional District: 14 
Restoration Advisory
Board Available:
Property Description
DOD use began on 15 February 1954 with the acquisition of 70.56 acres by lease from the City of Detroit. The Army developed and utilized this site for cantonment, control, and launcher area purposes as NIKE Missile Battery D-69. The only visible structures remaining are located in the former cantonment area and include the mess hall building and an associated underground storage tank. Several masonry block buildings, radar towers, and underground storage tanks were removed from the control area during restoration of the site in 1963. The launch area has been incorporated into a general play area and ice skating pond within the park area. Restoration of the launch area involved the cracking of the silo walls and slabs to allow for drainage, filling the silos with clay or other natural material, and regrading of the silo area. All equipment was removed from the interior of the structures, including elevator pistons. The lease agreement for 70.56 acres was terminated on 30 June 1963. Partial restoration was undertaken by the Government on 23 April 1963. In lieu of full restoration, it was determined advantageous and in the interest of the Government to relinquish, transfer, and deliver title to certain improvements which were no longer required by the Government. Of the total six tracts, the 3.55 acre tract contained certain improvements including underground sanitary sewers and water lines, underground communication and electric lines, a mess hall facility with an adjacent underground storage tank, and all utility services required for using the mess hall. Since the Government has terminated the lease and restoration, the improvements on the 3.55 area tract have been owned by the City of Detroit and the former mess hall facility is currently being utilized as the west District Headquarters of the Detroit Department of Parks and Recreation. 
Property History
River Rouge Park consists of 70.56 acres. It is former Nike Battery D-69. The DoD used this site for cantonment, control, and launcher area purposes in 1954. The property is currently owed by the City of Detroit. The former mess hall is being used as the West District Headquarters of the Department of Parks and Recreation. 
Current Ownership Types(s): CITY 
Cost to Complete (thousands): $122.9 

(Information courtesy of Mike Denja)

Anthony Sudney writes:

First let me qualify myself; After basic training at Fort Leonard Wood in the summer of 1956 I was assigned to the Philadelphia defense area, specifically site PH-99, which by the way was a double site of the 506th AA missile battalion.

When I arrived, the antennae were still on the ground on bogies, and I got to operate all radars and some computer. I was discharged in June of 1958, at which I went back to work in a factory on Detroit's east side (I was from Hamtramck).

While in the Army I heard that some sites would be taken over by the National Guard. I still had a military obligation so I joined the NG at the Artillery Armory on West 8 Mile Rd. At that time I thought that I'm not going to work in a factory the rest of my life. In the spring of 1959 I found out that the NG was taking over several Detroit sites, so just by chance I hit the Rouge Park site. Although the site was still Army, the future NG Commanding Officer and his staff were there. At this time I met Captain Robert Pitts and his First Sgt (can't think of his name right now). when they heard of my credentials they hired me on the spot.

That April the whole new battery was shipped out to Fort Bliss for training (which was old hat for me), as while in the Army I went to ECM school there and shot  at the old Red Canyon missile range.  When we returned in Sept of that year we officially took over the Rouge Park site.

The Admin. area with the Orderly Room, Supply Room, Mess Hall, and Barracks was located off Spinoza Dr. not too far north of Joy Rd. 

The IFC was on the South side of Joy Rd. between Trinity St. (eastern boundary of the park) and Spinoza Dr. The driveway into the site was approx. half way between these two streets. Of course the site was fenced. The site might have been about 200 yards square. The test set was in the northwest corner right at the intersection of Joy and Spinoza, behind a very large and dense bush which was outside the fence by a bus stop. The barbeque pit was about 10 yards in from the test set

The gate and guard shack were about 20 yards in from Joy Rd. About 15 yards in from the gate on the right was the Ready Room, with maybe six double bunks, a separate little room for the duty officer, and a latrine, an oil stove was in the middle of the big room with the bunks.

About 20 yards up from the ready room was the corridor building with the set, including FUIF, the whole affair was aligned dead east to west, control being on the left. the ACQ antenna was about 15 yards further to the east off the end of the control van, the MTR was about 25yds away to the southeast, and the TTR was about 25 yards away to the southwest.

Normally we worked 8 hour shifts, most of the fellows in during the day with one working the afternoon shift and one on the midnight shift, everyone rotating through those shifts. During "hot set", we had two teams, each working 24 hrs staying on site and sending someone out for chow for those that didn't bring and cook their own. We flew down to Texas 3 times and shot at McGregor missile range in those years at the site.

I only got to see the launching area once, I do remember the Ready Room near the gate, I don't remember where the Assembly Bldg, the Fueling Berm, or the Pits were, all I know really is that the gate was approx 1/2 mile south of Joy Rd. on Outer Dr.

We stayed there until the Fall of 1962, at which we went to El Paso for training on the Hercules. At that time my Corvette was a year old, and me and my buddy, the Azimuth Operator did a Route 66 to El Paso. After Hercules training and shooting at McGregor we stay over to get some ECM training. Got back home a day or two before Christmas.

We took over the Hercules site at Detroit Metro Airport, D-61.  It was over by the Air National Guard portion of the airport. The entrance gate into the area was a divided road with a concrete center, about 3 ft. wide, 3 ft. high and about 15 ft long. The entrance was on Middlebelt Rd.opposite Goddard Rd. which dead ended at Middlebelt, if you drove across from Goddard you drove right into the ANG area ( in 1968 as a Sheriff's deputy I handled a fatal car crash there, the guy in a 67 Mustang blew the stop sign at Middlebelt at about 90 mph and hit that concrete divider, naturally the divider didn't budge, hardly took a chip out of it, but there was nothing left of the front end of the car and he was hamburger in the back seat).

Upon entering the ANG site (I don't recall a guard shack) there were warehouse type buildings on the left, and off to the right about 25yds away was where the ANG jets were parked. About a quarter mile north on Middlebelt was the ANG Headquarters building, a long front, 2 story, with 3 wings toward the back (looking like the letter E). driving further into the area, airplane hangers could be seen on the right about a quarter mile up. Approx. an eighth of a  mile in on the left was the gate to the Hercules. site. I don't recall all that was there, but I do remember a regular Barracks and Admin Building. The Corridor Building and Vans were orientated about the same as the Rouge Park site, perpendicular to Middlebelt Rd.

The Launching area was on Merriman rd. at the foot of Superior Rd. which put it better than a mile south of the IFC. I was never in the area.

I don't remember too much because a couple of months later I became a Sheriff's deputy. Worked at the jail in downtown Detroit, went to the police academy and the following year was transferred to the road patrol. I used to drive past both areas when I was assigned to that district. about 10 years later with a FCC 1st class phone license and some moonlighting at several radio stations as engineer I finally got what I was after, Sheriff's radio division as a technician, also did quite a bit of relief dispatching. In 1986 we put in a new 800 mhz trunking system and moved the dispatch room to the airport into that same building that was the ANG headquarters. The dispatch room was bigger than my house. In 1987 as a Lieutenant I became the bureau commander, not of Sheriff's dispatch, but of Wayne county central dispatch, as now all county entities were on the one radio system. I had the county radio shop
and dispatch operations as my bailiwick. Had 18 dispatchers and 5 sergeants working for me in the dispatch room, and 4 tech's with a supervisor in the repair shop. Retired in 1992.


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