|Volume 3, Issue 2||March 2000|
Vandalism Continues at Historic Site
By Don Peterson
Vandalism continues at the C47 Launcher Site near Wheeler, Indiana, according to Anjanette Sivilich. Anjanette is a graduate student at Ball State University who is using the preservation of C47 as the topic of her thesis. "To my dismay someone had driven a car through the front gate, breaking the chain and lock. They then drove through the Assembly building garage doors and tried to (do the same) with the Warhead building. It appears that the steel door on the warhead building ended their path of destruction, but not after being pushed in about 4-5 feet." reports Anjanette.
"It is important that the local law enforcement agencies become aware of the problems at the site." adds Bob Peterson, president of the NPG. "These vandals really have no idea of the impact their efforts have on the long term preservation efforts of the NPG", continued Peterson, "They just have no clue as to the potential important of this site and the impact it may have on Northwest Indiana". NPG members who live in the area are encouraged to keep an eye on the site and notify local law enforcement when unwelcome activity is taking place on the site.
Many local residents view the site simply as vacant buildings creating an eyesore along County Road 700 North. This unawareness of the importance of the site is a result of the efforts of many thousands of young soldiers for whom secrecy was inherent to their mission. Deliberate security measures dictated that this site would be widely unknown and that it would someday be an important site for Indiana and American History. Many local residents never knew exactly what the purpose of the sites were and why they where scattered throughout Northwest Indiana. This vague understanding of the purpose and the positioning of the Nike missile sites was not an accident. These sites where TOP SECRET installations. In 1971 when C47 closed, only a few local landlords and shopkeepers really noticed. A few local girls, who had married servicemen, moved away when their husbands were reassigned. The Cold War continued for nearly twenty more years and no one remembered the purpose of those bases or why so many young men came to protect cities in which they never lived.
All this, the Nike Preservation Group will try to preserve for future generations.
Selection for historical markers is administered by the Indiana Historical Bureau located at the Indiana State Library in Indianapolis. Their web site location is:
The selection process in our case will take 1 year from when our paperwork is first submitted to final approval. The process starts with filling out and submitting a prospectus. The prospectus is an application for the full application. The prospectus asks for applicant contact information and information on the significance of the marker topic with sources to document research provided to justify the marker. A sketch of the historical location must be provided with the proposed location of the marker clearly shown. The next acceptance date for the board to receive prospective paperwork is August 7, 2000. This gives us plenty of time to complete and submit the prospectus.
The next topic is funding for the sign. The total cost of a marker is about $800. We can apply to the state for matching funds. Matching funds mean that if the NPG pays $400 towards the marker the State will pay the other half. The State has budgeted only $25,000 for the matching funds program for all of 1999 and 2000 so we need to be aware that we may have to raise the full amount. I'm sure that from our employer's matching fund programs along with grants and donations from the County of Porter, Chamber of Commerce, Veteran Groups, etc that this amount could be raised. When the Bureau approves our prospectus the NPG board of directors can address the fund raising question.
Please fell free to contact me for more information or to pass on any thoughts on the marker you may have.
"The Nike Hercules Story" Videoas told by the United States Army
This historic footage tells the public affairs version of the Nike Hercules development and deployment. 30 minutes of family entertainment. Yours free when you make a donation to the Nike Preservation Group of $18.00 or more.
Send your donation to:
475 Maple Street, West Lafayette, Indiana 47906
Available in VHS only. Allow 3-4 weeks for delivery. The Nike Hercules Story - produced in 1958/59 by Herbert Kerkow, Inc. of New York
Last Name ___________________ First Name ___________________MI _____
475 Maple Street
West Lafayette, Indiana 47906
All members receive the NPG newsletter. * Lifetime members receive a free gift and their names on the C47 Wall of Fame. ** Corporate sponsors receive a wall plaque of appreciation and their corporate logo placed on our sponsorship board. The Nike Preservation Group, Inc. is a not-for-profit corporation.