Monday, March 2, 2009

Cold War history revived in the Everglades as former missile base opens to public

EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK, Fla. (AP) — At the height of the Cold War, anti-aircraft missiles stood at the ready here in Florida's swamplands, protecting the South from a potential Soviet nuclear bomber attack launched from Cuba.

For almost two decades, beginning shortly after the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, the HM-69 Nike Hercules Missile Site was manned by about 100 military personnel, one of the last lines of defense if the unthinkable happened. When it closed in 1979, the park took control of the site.

Now the site is undergoing a rebirth of sorts as a public exhibit, drawing the curious who want to see the Cold War relic along with those who stumble upon it while visiting Everglades National Park.(read more)

If You Go...

NIKE MISSILE SITE TOURS: Everglades National Park: Tours are offered Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. through the end of March, but they are filling up fast, with tours March 7-8 already full. The tours depart from the Ernest Coe Visitor Center, 9 miles southwest of Homestead, Fla., on State Road 9336. Reservations are taken at the Ernest Coe Visitor Center up to 30 minutes before each tour or by calling 305-242-7700, ext. 7300. Participants must arrive in the park by 1:30 p.m. and be prepared to drive 14 miles round trip from the visitor center.

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