The Lake

This morning I woke up stiff from yesterday’s walk–more than three hours–and took another short walk to get loosened up. The nominal purpose of this morning’s walk was to locate discarded materials to use for landscaping and/or bookshelves, and I did find some nice paving stones tossed into some weeds, but that’s a project for later.

Yesterday’s walk to the lake was more interesting. The destination was the old Nike missile site (Nike Ajax site C-44)  on the north side of the lake.

This road leads to the bicycle path that runs for miles through the south side, or to the access road for the lake.

walk-access road

turn left for the path, right for the lake, and straight ahead for the Nike missile site.

walk-to nike missles

After climbing over the low barricade, you continue a few feet then strike out over the field to the right.  The path gradually becomes easier to discern, and eventually you come out into a huge field with Queen Anne’s lace and milkweed.

walk-milkweed in field

I remember my mother showing me this plant on the edge of a cornfield when I was quite small.


There isn’t much left of the place where the missiles were stored:


walk-nike with vine

The north side of this lake was also the scene of a grisly crime. This was where Loeb and Leopold hid the body of the child they killed.

walk north side of lake

Footnote to the death of Loeb in prison after reportedly attempting to sexually assault another prisoner: “According to one widely reported account, newsman Ed Lahey wrote this lead for the Chicago Daily News: ‘Richard Loeb, despite his erudition, today ended his sentence with a proposition.'”

More details about the Nike missiles:

The missiles were part of a series of missile sites built as a result of WWII when someone wondered if German bombers couldn’t attack American cities from the air. More about Nike missiles here.  You really have to wonder about the advisability of shooting down a bomber in the middle of an urban area.  As Cecil Adams puts it, “These nukes weren’t just firecrackers, either–they could be set to explode with a force of as much as 40 kilotons, twice as powerful as the bomb dropped on Nagasaki. The thought of detonating a nuclear warhead within 75 miles of a city you were nominally trying to protect today seems insane,…”

Can you say “pork”?

Apparently there are also radar towers I haven’t discovered yet:

The nearest street location is North-North-East of Ave K & 133rd Street. This area is within the state park and is located right on the lake. One of the towers was sitting in the middle of a creek. It is about a 3/4 mile hike in from where you park your car. This area is wooded and was kind of spooky as the sun was starting to set. As I walked through the woods I found a radar tower that had fallen over years ago. This reminded me of the scene from the movie Planet of the Apes where Heston finds the remains of the Statue of Liberty on the beach. I found four radar towers, all of them concrete. three of them were very tall and one was shorter. Saki told me that there were five towers (guess I missed one) and they haven’t found out why there were five towers and not three. Remember, this was an Ajax site, so it should not have had HIPAR radar. The IFC area was very small. All the building foundations were small, as you would expect to find at a radar-only area.

So I’ll have another excuse to go back to the lake.

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