Nike Missile Boston Defense Area
The site designations and locations of Nike batteries guarding the Boston area are
(B-03) 1.3 miles northeast of Reading
(B-05) northwest of Danvers
(B-55) Blue Hills/Milton
(B-63) west of Needham
(B-73) 1.6 miles west of South Lincoln
(B-36) Fort Duvall/Hull
(B-85) west of Bedford.
Headquarters facilities were located at Chelsea, Winthrop, Quincy, Natick, and Fort Devens. Radar sections were stationed at Long Island and Fort Devens.
The Corps of Engineers New England Division based at Waltham managed construction of these facilities and the Nike defenses elsewhere in New England. While some sites had to be newly acquired, the Division used Department of Defense property whenever possible. For example, B-36 used World War II gun casements as a foundation for the missile control radars.
Boston's Nike Batteries were manned initially by Regular Army troops. In 1959, National Guard units assumed control of B-03, B-15, B-55, and B-63. In 1964, the Army turned sites B-36 and B-73 over to the Guard. After the phase-out of the Nike Ajax system, sites B-05, B-36, and B-73 remained supplied with Hercules missiles. By 1964, these three sites were merged with the remaining sites in Providence and Bridgeport to form the New England Defense Area.
The Corps of Engineers New England Division contracted Kirkland Construction Company to construct the "bomb-proof fallout-proof" Missile Master command and control facility located at Fort Heath in Winthrop. This unit, manned by up to 500 personnel, coordinated the Nike batteries throughout the Northeast.