Last week, Encino Patch asked you to guess where a particular, unusual local landmark was located. Many of you wrote in and guessed the answer: LA96C, one of the old Nike missile sites located in the Valley.
Michael Crosby, the head docent of Los Encinos State Historic Park, and author of the history book Images of America: Encino, knows a lot about the missile site in the San Vicente Mountain park, which overlooks Encino and the rest of the Valley.
Crosby explained to Patch that, from 1956-1968, it was one of 16 Los Angeles-area Nike-Ajax anti-aircraft missile launch sites. The site contained ground-based radar designed to detect hostile aircraft during the Cold War. Crosby told Patch that similar Nike sites were located in defensive rings surrounding key urban and industrial areas throughout the United States.
The Encino site contained ground-based radar and computer systems designed to detect and track hostile aircraft to guide the five-ton, anti-aircraft Nike missiles from silos along Victory Boulevard. According to this article from the Los Angeles Times, the missile site was offered to the state as park land in the late 1960s.
According to Crosby, you can climb to the top of the original radar tower, which now provides visitors with spectacular views. It's accessible by hike or, more easily, by car, by going west up a dirt track Mulholland Drive from Encino Hills Drive. Before you make the trip, click on the photo gallery above to see some of the spectacular views from the missile base.