During the early cold war Milwaukee was considered a major industrial center that required defense from the Soviet Union. A ring of eight NIKE defensive missile installations was constructed to intercept and shoot down long-range Russian bombers carrying nuclear weapons to destroy Milwalukee. Each NIKE facility had two parts which were spread apart: there was a command control with radar and missile launch areas. Why were they separated? The simplest explanation for the necessary distance between the IFC and Launcher areas was the speed of the missile coming off the launcher vs. the capability of the missile tracking radar to keep up with it. The MTR had to be "locked on" the missile from before launch until the burst command was sent. If it were any closer than 1000 yards at launch it wouldn't be mechanically capable of keeping up with the rapidly ascending missile. These are some great links to learn more: http://ericapp.weebly.com/m-74-nike-missile-site.html (this is the best one for the Waukesha site), http://nikemissile.com/index.html, http://www.nikesite.org/page17.html and http://www.notpurfect.com/travel/nuke/nike.html.
This an over view of defensive ring of all eight Milwaukee area Nike missile installations.
These are aerial images of the M74 control and launch areas in Waukesha. The top red box is the control area with the headquarters and radar (IFC) where many structures still remain. See the aerial closeup of the control area to the above. The water tank was added after the facility closed. There is a concrete slab where the barracks building was located. Still standing are the blast building used by a local gun club for a shooting range, parts of the radar towers (a.k.a. IFC) and the mess hall. There is a nicely done monument which is photographed below. Look for it when you visit the control site!
The bottom red box is the launcher area. The Waukesha Park and Recreation Department owns both areas. However the federal government still some toxic waste cleanup to do at the launch site, so it is closed to the public and the access road is gated off. All that remains of the launch site is the gate, the road to the hilltop, concrete building slabs and concrete missile magazines on the hilltop covered by mulch piles.
The Nike Challenge!
This Nike cache series has caches hidden at all eight Nike sites. There will be a Challenge Cache for anyone who has visited all eight sites and found at least one cache at each site. See the bookmark list of all the possible caches on the Nike cache pages. Note to new Geocachers: The bookmark list can be found on the upper right side of any cache page. You can sign the log of the challenge cache in Lake Park in Milwaukee early, but you can not claim a find on it until you have visited all eight sites.