This was a military installation for 20 years. A short time compared to most. The site had approximately 120 personnel. Many servicemen served here during that time. Most of them were teenagers at the time, like myself.
Most of the pictures contained in this gallery are from SF-88 and give you an idea of what was at LA-88 from 1956-1974.
I was stationed there for 3 years and can tell you there was not much difference from the SF-88 pictures and the LA-88 site when it was operational.
Nike Sites across the US were very similar in design. The elevator door from a site in New York would fit a site in California. Everything was made to Mil-Spec.
The Alaskan sites had protective covers for their radars from the snow.
But the Nike system was the same. Cameras and picture taking was not allowed at the site as this system was classified. However pictures are now coming out years later. Just like anything else, don’t get caught.
The Harold Wrathburn pictures of LA-88 on the Nike Historical Society website, LA-88 link are some of the best of the Admin area. There are also good pictures of the LA-78 Malibu site I found on the internet.
Imagine the year is 1968. If you were driving up De Soto Ave past Devonshire Blvd., toward Oat Mountain. You would go a mile or two and come to a locked gate in an area of scrub oaks and near an arroyo.
Known as Browns Canyon Road. as you travel further up the road, toward the mountain, you would come to another locked gate. On your right you would see another locked gate and the sentry shack for LA-88L (Launcher Area).
On your left would be another locked gate which contained the Administration Area. (This gate can be seen in the Lassie video).
What remains at this location is sad. When the Army left, it went to the State of California, as a Conservation Corps Camp, that lasted a dozen years.
Then the LA county Sheriffs used it for training and left it trashed.
Now as part of the Michael D. Antonovich Regional Park at Joughin Ranch, (16100 Browns Canyon Road, Chatsworth Ca). it remains part of the park, under the loose supervision of the LA county parks department.
The LA Parks Department had a full time park ranger living in the old Nike site administration building, up until a fire burn the building to the ground in the early 2000’s.
You can see the various YouTube videos of what remains, very sad. To me is an attractive nuisance, a dishonor to a former cold war military site that contained atomic weapons.
If they filled the missile magazines with sand, and leveled the remaining structures, nature could take it back to its original pristine condition. I remember the beautiful views of the valley on the few clear LA days.
The hillsides filled with poppies and lupine flowers in the spring, and views of the Santa Susanna Mountains, along with the big San Fernando Valley.