Muni, Marin, and Missiles
A few weeks ago I explored some of the lesser-known aspects of the Bay Area. For example, did you know that Muni runs a bus that goes to Marin? The 76-Marin Headlands goes from the Caltrain depot to Fort Cronkhite once an hour every Sunday.
The 76 also stops at a place called Site SF-88, which was part of a network of 280 Nike missile sites intended to guard U. S. cities from Soviet bomber attacks during the Cold War. (Here’s a map of Nike sites in the Bay Area, and an article about them from the Straight Dope.) The military shut down SF-88 in 1974 (the ICBM having made the Nike pretty much obsolete), but now you can visit the site as I did and see a slice of Cold War history. Pictures after the jump.
I talked with some nice people from Vancouver while I was waiting for the bus to come by on Sutter. We spoke of that city’s Lower East Side, and how it might well be worse than our Tenderloin. They took another bus, but switched to the 76 later, and I caught up with them when I came.
The trip to Marin is, of course, quite beautiful.
There are open houses at SF-88 on the first Sunday of every month from 12:30 to 3:30, with guided tours from docents, including many Nike veterans. The site is also open on Wednesdays through Fridays during the same hours.
If you arrive by Muni, it looks like this:
What is this thing?
Turns out it’s a computer, although the output is much simpler than most of the ones we use, seeing as it’s based on clockwork and all:
As part of the tour, you can see (real, but inert) missiles raised from the magazine:
You may also ride the elevator down into the magazine. This is the only time I’ve been instructed to “hold on to the missile, please.”
I took a video as we ascended from the magazine:
After my visit, I walked from the Nike site to Fort Cronkhite while waiting for the bus. The California poppies were in bloom:
When I got to Fort Cronkhite, I met a family from North Carolina who had come to visit. They were waiting for the bus as well. But at least the scenery was pretty:
It took a long time, but it showed up eventually. I recognized more than a few people from my trip earlier that day.
And, of course, the trip back is just as lovely:
If you go, the following information may be useful: