So that’s why it’s called Nike Park

Published 6:40 pm Tuesday, February 26, 2019

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

Carrollton Nike Park was named for a type of missile but that has long been the missing element that would have visually cemented the park’s historic nature.

It may have taken years, but a missile is now considered incoming — military lingo for one is on its way.  

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The Isle of Wight County Board of Supervisors approved the donation of a Nike Ajax missile with a launcher from the City of Hampton. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

Now people will know that park is named after a missile and not a shoe, said Isle of Wight County Administrator Randy Keaton.

This particular missile was once paraded down Victoria Boulevard in Hampton in 1956 and has most recently been in the Hampton History Museum collection, according to a staff report.

The missile is inert and no red fuming nitric acid was ever put in it, and it is in fairly good shape, according to a staff report.

The launcher, however, is badly rusted and disintegrating in parts and will need some reconstruction, according to a staff report. 

During the 1950s, more than 30 20-foot Nike Ajax missiles were stored under the ground at what is now Nike Park, and soldiers stationed there were prepared to launch the ordnance if officials in Norfolk sounded the alert. 

No missiles were launched, however, and by 1961 the post was converted for use by the U.S. Army Signal Corps. 

Efforts to bring a Nike Ajax missile to the park began more than 15 years ago but getting one to Nike Park has so far been an elusive goal. 

Local historian Albert Burckard has long lobbied for a missile at Nike Park and credits Board Chairman William McCarty for helping secure the one from Hampton. 

Once the missile is installed, Burckard wants to push for getting the park on the National Register of Historic Places. 

The county had initiated that process in 2017 in connection with adding a tower at the park for the new E911 radio system.  {/mprestriction}