Great Falls in Fairfax County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Great Falls Nike Missile Site
Erected 1994 by Department of Historic Resources. (Marker Number T 46.)
Location. 38° 59.851′ N, 77° 18.865′ W. Marker is in Great Falls, Virginia, in Fairfax County. Marker is at the intersection of Springvale Road (County Route 674) and Wynkoop Drive, on the right when traveling south on Springvale Road Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Great Falls VA 22066, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Sharpsburg (Antietam) Campaign (approx. 1.2 miles away); Historical Statement (The Bell) (approx. 1.2 miles away); Forestville School (approx. 1.6 miles away); Action At Dranesville (approx. 1.6 miles away); Fields of Fire (approx. 1.6 miles away); Old Road To The West (approx. 2.2 miles away); Reston (approx. 2.4 miles away); Robert E. Simon, Jr. / Reston, Virginia (approx. 2.4 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Great Falls.
Regarding Great Falls Nike Missile Site. The radar site is located approximately 150 yards further south on Springvale Road, with one other existing outbuilding, on Turner Farms County Park. The launch facilities site is located around 1000 yards southwest in Great Falls Nike Park, at the corner of Leesburg Pike (Route 7) and Utterback Store Road (Route 717).
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker.
Also see . . .
1. Nike Related Manuals, Books, Articles.
2. Utilization Plan for Tunerís Farm Park.
3. Air Force Gap Filler Radar Sites. An article detailing the type of radar which used the radome found at the launch site.
1. GPS Development Site
In the 1980s the radar site (Turner Farm Park) was used by the Defense Mapping Agency (DMS), and the radar towers were converted for use as optical and radio observation towers. This explains the observation dome, in place of a standard geodetic dome used when the Nike site was active. Under the DMS these structures played an unheralded role in matching Global Positioning System data to topographical maps. The research allowed, among other things, accurate ploting of historical markers!
2. Missile Site W-83
According to “Rings of Supersonic Steel” by Mark L. Morgan and Mark A. Berhow, when active this site was numbered W-83. The headquarters facility was to the south in Vienna, shared with the sites at Lorton and Fairfax. Both Nike-Ajax and Nike-Hercules missiles were used at this site. The sites were transfered over to the Fairfax County Parks Department, who has transformed these to multi-use recreation areas.
Officially site W-83 was known as Herndon/Dranesville, not Great Falls as indicated on the marker. The name “Great Falls” caused some confusion with a similar site at Great Falls, Montana. (Thanks to Thomas Page and Mark Morgan for additional background information.)
Categories. • War, Cold •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 13,116 times since then. Last updated on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page was the Marker of the Week Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 6, 7. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.