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Boston Harbor and its many islands were the home to numerous forts and strongholds during the coast artillery era. Two of these, Fort Dawes, on the end of Deer Island, and Fort Strong, on the end of Long Island, were used by the Nike program. Fort Dawes was an Ajax installation in the early days of the program, at which was also still located a gun antiaircraft artillery battery. Fort Strong, with its central location,  held a Nike radar installation for a short period.  Both sites were only short boat rides from downtown Boston.

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Fort Duvall

   Street Map of Site

Fort Strong

Fort Strong- northern end of Long Island, Boston Harbor;also located on Long Island was the launcher site for Quincy/Squantum Site B-37. Long Island is connected to the mainland (Moon Island/Squantum) via a bridge. Fort Dawes- southern end of Deer Island, Boston Harbor. Deer Island is no longer an island, being connected to the town of Winthrop by landfill. The former waterway, Shirley Gut, was used by the British ship HMS Shannon, as a hiding place in 1814 in its famous duel with USS Chesapeake.

Present Status
Fort Strong is in ruins including the old lighthouse. Fort Dawes is part of a complex that includes a prison and water treatment plant.

Long Island
Deer Island



Dates of Operation
Fort Strong 1958-1961
Fort Dawes 1956-1957

Fort Strong-established in 1867; rebuild in
1900, declared surplus 30 Sep 47; revived
briefly during NIKE era as a radar site;
Fort Dawes- built in 1940 on land owned by
the Army since 1906 and occupied by the
coast artillery in Jan, 41;used as an AAA gun
battery site as well as a Nike site; last unit
inactivated on 20 Dec 57; discontinued 2
Feb 63.

Map of Fort Strong from 1905

Nike Units

Fort Strong:

Radar Section, 15th AAA Group 
Jan 58-Jun 61

Fort Dawes:
HHB, 605th AAA Missile Battalion (Nike)(Continental)  
Jun 56-Oct 57

Btry A, 605th AAA Missile Battalion (Nike)(Continental)
Jun 56- Feb 57


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This Page Last Updated:   Wednesday, August 18, 1999

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