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Mount Sutro: A Place in San Francisco History

Updated: Dec 30, 2020

As a kid I lived near Mt Sutro and spent many days exploring its forests and trails. In the 1950’s and 60’s there was a Nike Missile base where Rotary Meadow is today. This place fascinated me with its guard dogs, armed soldiers guarding the fence line (“go away kid”) and mysterious radar antennas. Several years ago I made a short video documentary about the Nike site. The video puts the site into historical perspective and answers many of the what and why questions this boy had at age 12. Here is the YouTube link; The next time you walk through Rotary Meadow, pause for a moment and remember its place in San Francisco history.

-Al Kovalick, Santa Clara, CA

A similar missile site, SF88, still stands as a working museum in the Marin Headlands. This site would be very similar to the one on Mt Sutro, which was SF89 C (radar control) and the missile launch site in the SF Presidio (SF 89 L). The Control site and Launching sites were always separated by a few miles. There were about 300 such Nike missile sites in the United States at one time.

The missile launching pad at SF88.

A missile launching pad at SF88.

A radar antenna at SF88.

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