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Former coast artillery post, Fort Banks and its satellite, Fort Heath, were reopened for the Nike era. Located in Winthrop 5 miles northeast of Boston, the sites provided command and control for the New England Nike program during the Ajax era.

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Fort Banks area

  Street Map of Site Locations

            Fort Heath area


Established in 1899 as the Gun Battery on Grover’s Cliff in Winthrop near Fort Banks. During the NIKE era, the US Army Signal Missile Master Support Detachment, Ft. Heath (strength: 3 officers, 2 WOs, 12 enlisted men), was stationed there from 4 Jan 60 to Dec 64. Its mission was to supervise maintenance of the AN/FSG-1 radar. The New England District of the Army Corps of Engineers built a bombproof, fallout-proof Master Missile unit at Fort Heath which was responsible for coordinating all the Nike Batteries in New England.

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Missile Master at Fort Heath
(Army Engineers in New England 1775-1975, p. 152.)

Map of Fort Heath from 1905



Ft Banks was located 1 mile  ne of the Winthrop town center, west of Revere Street between Winthrop Street and (the present) Argyle Street. Behind to post on the west side ran railroad tracks which included a Fort Banks train station.  The current Kennedy Street runs into the former main area of Ft. Banks.  Ft Heath was located on the coast in the ne corner of the town at the end of Highland Avenue less than a mile from Fort Banks.

Dates of Operation

Established in 1899 as Battery Winthrop for coastal artillery purposes; last big gun firing 1904; post declared excess to Army needs 31 Jan 50; revived 16 May 51 due to Korean War and acted as center of ADA defenses around Boston up until early 60s. Placed in an inactive status 30 Sep 66.

     Map of Fort Banks from 1905

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Twelve-inch mortars installed at Fort Banks during the Coast Artillery era (Courtesy of Gerald Butler, Army Engineers in New England 1775-1975 ,p. 114.)

HHB, 56th Artillery Brigade (AD) Dec 55-Oct 64
HHB, 104th Artillery Brigade (AD) (MA ARNG) May 59-Mar 63
HHB, 15th AAA Group (Continental) Jan 55- Aug 58
514th AAA Missile Battalion Dec 52- Apr 55
Btry A, 514th AAA Missile Battalion Jan-Sep 55
Btry B, 514th AAA Missile Battalion Jan-Sep 55
HHB, 24th AAA Missile Battalion Jun 55- Dec 57
HHB, 739th AAA Missile Battalion Feb 56- Jun 56
HHB, 751st AAA Missile Battalion May 56- Aug 56
HHB, 3d Missile Battalion, 5th Artillery (Nike-Hercules) Feb 64- Dec 64

Present Status

Fort Banks: Site visited Jun 2000. Area is seeing multi reuse: Senior citizen housing, cemetery, condos and public works facility. A new "Fort Banks Elementary School" is under construction. There's a small memorial and plaque dedicated to a gun explosion from the early 1900s.
Fort Heath: Site is now a park and high rise apartments.




Site Pictures (Ft. Banks)
Site Pictures (Ft. Heath)

2000 Site Pictures (Fort Banks)
2000 Site Pictures (Fort Heath)

Coast Artillery Era Maps

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This Page Last Updated:   Monday, July 10, 2000

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