Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Cool Warrendale Thing: Missile Launchers

Most people are shocked to believe that there used to be missiles in Rouge Park. I can't say that I believe them. When my assistant scoutmaster told me almost 30 years ago, I thought he was kidding.

But he wasn't.

NIKE Missile Battery D-69.

This military facility was activated in January 1955 and decommissioned in February 1963. The integrated fire control area was located north of Joy Rd., between Spinoza and Trinity. The launchers themselves were located near what is now Lessenger Middle School (8401 Trinity St.).

The site reportedly held 20 Nike Ajax missiles, which were surface-to-air missiles designed to shoot down incoming Russian bombers in the event of an attack. Thankfully, those missiles were never needed.

When the military closed the facility, the City of Detroit was quick to demolish it and revert it back to parkland.

More information about the facility is available on-line here. One can also find more information about the Nike missile system here.

I may have a really warped sense of humor, but this missile site is my pick for Cool Warrendale Thing of the Week.


Rev. Jack A. Kozak said...

Frank, I grew up on Plainview between Paul and Whitlock. Went to Leslie School. Moved out of Warrendale in 1985 but have many happy memories. Now living in Akron, Ohio. I've been following your blog for the last few years. I figured it was time to let you know how much I appreciate it.

FrankNemecek said...

Thank you! It's always great to hear that people like my work.

If you ever make it back to the old neighborhood, please let me know.

Love & laughter,

Rev. Jack A. Kozak said...

Back in the 1960s, when I was a boy, if you couldn't get it on Warren Avenue, you didn't need it. We always shopped at Harry's when Harry still ran it. If you didn't have the money, you could "put it on the book" - at no interest. Luzon Shoes on corner of Grandville - the milk depot was nearby. Several bakeries, Warrendale and Mihalak meats. Franks' Poultry just east of Greenfield. My father was commander of Preuss-Szelong VFW on Piedmont and Joy in 1965. Was a loyal patron of Kopek's Cozy Corner (Evergreen and Whitlock). Took our cleaning to Benny Urban and got our haircuts next to him at Ray's (later Al's) Barbershop. Got our Sunoco gas at Clair Schomo's station on Evergreen and Warren. It later became a YunYum donut shop. Got our shoes fixed on Warren & Minock. Teeth taken care of on Auburn and Warren by Dr. Rendee and Lewandowski. In the same building was Dr. John and Stan Ozog. There was also Dr. Bartkoviak's office around Penrod, and Dr. John Dzjuba on Stahlen. Dr. Stuart Bass for the feet, and Dr. Malec for chiorpractic needs. There was Stroboli Pizza around Westwood, I believe. Did a lot of shopping at River Oaks plaza. The A&P store - River Oaks pharmacy was run by Pharmicist Ben Cutler, and they delivered in "The Pill Wagon". There was a nice deli next to the pharmacy. My first bank account was at City National Bank at the other end of the plaza. My pediatrician was Dr. Ira Leventer, and he also made house calls in the 60s. You really didn't need to leave Warrendale to get what you needed.

Sue Underwood said...

I also grew up in Warrendale on Grandville between Paul and Whitlock. I went to St Thomas Aquinas, Rudiman, then Cody. Went to the shoemaker on Grandville and Warren, Westwood Bakery, Strombolis, First Edition, the penny candy store. I knew the Urbans. I also shopped at Harry's and went to Warrendale Meats. Went to the deli at River Oaks. Sat on the grass on the northeast corner of Westwood and Whitlock waiting for friends to stop by and talk. Hung out at frogs paradise and hidden lake. Went ice skating and tobogganing in Rouge Park. When I do go back there, I always go for pizza at Gracie's. Best pizza in the world. I loved that neighborhood. There were always a lot of kids around. Best place ever to grow up. It has changed tremendously just like everywhere else. I moved to Tennessee when my husband was hired at Saturn. I will always hold fond memories of Warrnedale in my heart.

Rev. Jack A. Kozak said...

One of the really great things about growing up in Warrendale was the close proximity to the woods. Thanks Sue, for the reminder of Frogs Paradise (in the neighborhood behind River Oaks for those who don't know) and Hidden Lake (Henry Ford's Mansion). My friends and I were always going to "Frogs" - only a 5 minute bike ride from Leslie School. If we were ambitious, and didn't let our parents get wind of it, we could bike over to Henry Ford Community College and get into Hidden Lake from the trail just behind the tennis courts and track. We also liked to sit around the campus of UM Dearborn in the summer.

I remember how my big brother would take me to that park on Ann Arbor Trail west of the A&P and I'd sit on his lap and drive his 1962 Ford Galaxie.

Wonderful memories.