Shuttered Nike missile base up for auction

News-DemocratJune 4, 2014 

— During the 1960s, a Nike Hercules anti-missile base in Hecker guarded the St. Louis metro region from a long-anticipated Soviet nuclear air attack.

Shuttered since 1969, the Nike Hercules missile site will be sold during a public auction at 10 a.m. July 12.

The base at 5055 M. Road, just south of Hecker, consists of an old administration building and, a mile south, a 14-acre launch complex made up of three de-activated bunkers that once housed anti-aircraft missiles capable of launching nuclear warheads.

The site's owner, the Career Center of Southern Illinois, has retained the services of Buy A Farm and Auction Co. LLC, from Sparta, also known as to handle the auction.

The Nike Hercules bunker complex features operational elevator pads, a shop, a pump house and a generator building. In recent years, developers have converted de-activated missile silos in the western United States into luxury homes or even turned portions of their interiors into swimming pools, according to Wayne Keller, a broker for Buy A Farm.

Pre-sale inspection tours for the Hecker site are set for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 26 and 2-4 p.m. June 27. The minimum opening bid has been set at $70,000. To contact Keller, call 800-357-4020.

The Nike anti-missile site at Hecker was part of the St. Louis Air Defense System, which was manned by the 62nd Air Defense Artillery, Ist Automatic Weapons Missile Battalion, which was activated June 1, 1959. The battalion was headquartered at Scott Air Force Base, near Mascoutah.

Three other Nike missile batteries were built in a defensive ring to protect the St. Louis metro region. The batteries were set up at Pacific, Mo.; Marine and Pere Marquette State Park, near Grafton.

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