Irwin Nike Site
Irwin Nike Missile Site - PI-36
Where: Irwin, PA
Status: Launch is abanoned, IFC is reused by soccer club
Finally, the last stop on my four site tour of the Pittsburgh Area Nike sites. If you've read none of the others, to recap, I started with Coraopolis which had been imploded, then went to Elrama, which was neat, but I didn't get under ground. Next I went to Herminie where I was shown around by the owner a little, but didn't get pictures, and lastly, I end up here... the launch site of Irwin. I could tell from the gate that this place was pretty wide open. I couldn't get in the main gate because it was closed, so I went for a little hike around the poperty.
In case you all forget the sacrafices that I make to bring you these pictures, let me just say that I was torn to hell and back by jagger bushes on this one. They were everywhere. I literally crawled on my stomach through a small ditch, under bushes, etc. I felt my skin being snagged by these stupid bushes which were obviously created by either years of mean evolution, or a God that doesn't like trespassers. After what felt like an eternity, I found a tree that had fallen through the fence. It wasn't quite an invite, but I took it as a sign. I went in. I first made my way to the launch, and much to my surprise, the bays were wide open... as in the doors were open as pictured to the right. This was as close to an invitation as I was going to get. I was equally shocked to make my way down the steps to find a dry room.
Welcome to the underground.
This is where I fail to impress. It was dark, and this was about a month before I bought my tripod. I couldn't get good pictures. I took some, but it was freaky as hell. I kept thinking I'd hear the doors slamming shut and then realize that my cell didn't work under ground. I'm such a wimp. I snapped as many pictures as my crappy flash would let me snap. I may go back sometime for a few more pictures with the tripod. There wasn't much down there, but what was there, I got pictures of. It was in shockingly good shape. From what I could tell it had never been wet. The sump pump wasn't running and there appeared to be no power to run it. A trip over to the other battery would show about 1 inch of water on the floor.
Electronics and a missing fire extinguisher on the wall of the launch battery.
So here I am... the place I'd been dying to see... an underground missile storage. It was as neat as a cement room under the ground can be, but my paranoia got the better of me, and I bolted after a few minutes. I checked out the rest of the location. Everything was wide open. I was parked in a super obvious spot, so I kept thinking that my time was marked, but no one ever showed up. Maybe no one cares? There was a relatively new looking pit dug. Chip from the previous site had mentioned the superfund people had been around lately, so maybe they had put the drainage in or removed an underground fuel tank? Anyway, other than that and some half mowed grass, the site appeared to be abandoned. At one point I thought I might have recognized some horse barrels, but I'm not sure.
In addition to the battery, I made it through the bunker, which was near the barraks. The roof is thick cement. I felt safe. I went through the assembly, where not much was left, as well as through the barraks... in bad condition, and a garage that was also in bad condition. The basketball hoop was still there surprisingly.
There really isn't a whole lot more to say. It really is just a bunch of buildings essentially, but its also an important part of US history. I really hope these pictures bring back some good memories for the people who once served at these locations. I thank you for your service.
Leaving this site was no easier than entering. I was snagged and cut again. It was well worth it. I'd really like to make it back here at some point. I left here without much time remaining before I needed to be on the road home. I made a very quick stop by the control site, which was actually a little ways away compared to the others. The control site is reused by a soccer club.
The Irwin Site has the designation of PI-36. You can find tons of specifics at Ed's site or at the Tech Bastard's Site. Neither are affiliated with my site in any way, so please don't bother them if you own this place, hate my page, see bad info here, etc.
The symbol of the folks that were stationed here. The blast door at the bottom of the stairs.
Overview of the battery facing the hydraulic pmps. That's the elevator shaft you see. Under the elevator.
Leading back to the little control room. Same as Left. This is tough to figure out, but its the launch elevator doors open with the elevator between them. The yellow strip is the far door, the other door is closest to you, and the elevator is in the middle with the leveling cables between it. Air Filter. This would have been on the vent. Check the number of filters after the pump!
A garge Inside the garage Bomb Shelter. Notice the thickness of the roof. Inside the bomb shelter. Notice the covers on the vents. I think that the government had been getting asbestos out of the old bases and I'm guessing that's why the plastic is over these vents. I'm guessing the rooms were open to air out? Inside the barraks. It was in really bad shape. This was acutally back in the battery.
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Lots more 2007 pictures can be found in the gallery here.