Monday, July 22, 2024
Dakota County Historical Society
To preserve, interpret and promote the history of Dakota County.

The former Dakota County NIKE Missile site is located at 1462 260th Street (oddly it is often listed as being in Farmington even though it is about seven miles southeast of there and located well within Castle Rock Township). The NIKE site is located in a mostly rural area, surrounded by farm land, and scattered homes. There are approximately a dozen homes within one mile of the site.

The NIKE missile site was built in 1959. It was one of four bases constructed during the “Cold War” era to defend the Twin Cities from possible enemy aircraft attacks. A communications facility associated with the missile site is located about one mile northwest of the site.
A waste-water treatment plant formerly operated by the U.S. Army is considered part of the missile site. This treatment plant stands on a separate, unfenced piece of land, about 250 yards south of the main facility.

The NIKE site closed in 1972. The IFC (Integrated Fire Control) Area of the site has been in private ownership for many years. Ownership of the Launcher site immediately passed from the military to the (former) United States Bureau of Mines (USBM) in 1973. USBM used the base as a water-jet, rock-cutting research center until 1995. The USBM was disbanded in 1995 and management of the NIKE property is now being handled by the Twin Cities Research Center (TCRC) Closure Team. The Federal Government is planning to transfer ownership of the site to a different government agency or private party. It is not known how the site will be used in the future.

Access to the main NIKE complex is restricted, and the site is enclosed by a chain link fence topped with barbed wire. A communications tower used by the Minnesota Department of Transportation is located within the fenced part of the NIKE complex. Radio equipment at the site was used during Desert Storm (1990-1991) to provide communications between the forces in the Middle East and their families.

Additional Information:
The site is reportedly in wonderful condition for its age and decades of disuse. All the underground magazines are apparently clean and dry and the elevators and doors are still functional. The Minnesota Vehicle and Arms museum have expressed interest in taking over the site for their museum, but the property must first be accepted by a government agency that could then turn it over for a museum. Thus far no other agency has accepted ownership of the site. The State Historical Preservation Officer has declared the site eligible for the National Register, but it has not yet become a registered historic site.

Visit one of these Dakota County Historic Sites