Unfamiliar Land

Stone Cats at San Pablo Ridge

Richmond, CA


Just outside of San Fransisco you can find the crumbling foundations of what was once a surface-to-air Nike missile battery. In the early days of the Cold War these sites formed a ring around the city, constantly on high alert for squadrons of Soviet nuclear bombers flying in over the Pacific. By the 1970s most of them had been decommissioned, either having been made obsolete by ICBM technology or due to deescalation treaties.

Nike Missile site SF-09C, once located on the top of San Pablo Ridge, is pretty unremarkable today. The equipment and structures were torn down and removed long ago. But at the spot where the radar station was once located, you can find stone cat sculptures playfully hiding among the grass and concrete foundations. The artist (and their intention) is a mystery. It’s not a place you’d expect to find street art — although if you’re up for a nice hike, it’s worth seeing.

# Posted on February 5, 2020 by Marc Charbonneau.