My friends accuse me of making some of these little facts about Northern Virginia up. Nope the stories are all real....well okay the one about the Bunny Man Bridge in Clifton...not so much.
However the story of the DC Reformatory located in Lorton VA being the site of the Army's premier showcase for the nationwide Nike program unveiled in 1954 is true. One of the big issues that the government faced when it was trying to build defenses against the threat of a nuclear attack from the USSR was acquiring the land necessary to develop missile defense sites.
Since the Army was tasked with finding sites that we already government owned the DC Reformatory site in Lorton located on 3200 acres just 25 miles south of DC was a logical choice. The Army carved out a 30 acre parcel on the prison grounds and began fortifying the site to protect it from intruders. Up until this time the reformatory had been considered an "open campus" reformatory and the addition of Nike Missiles caused officials to lock down the inmates in a more secure environment.
The Army added new guard towers to the prison, began patrols of the grounds with guard dogs and added intrusion alarms to the perimeter fences. As the 1950's drew to a close and the threat of a nuclear war diminished the Army began to dismantle some of the other local sites. The National Guard took control of the missile site at Lorton and kept it as a training site until 1973 when the Secretary of the Army James Schlesinger ordered the site closed and destroyed.
Today the only way you would know that the site existed is by the one historical marker that you find on Furnace Road. As part of the master plan for the revitalization of reformatory land an area has been set aside for a future National Cold War Museum.
So there you have it. Who would make this stuff up? Inmates and Nike Missiles in Lorton VA. My how times have changed.