HM69 Nike Missile Base

HM69 Nike Missile BaseNot only is the Everglades a beautiful landscape to explore, you also can get a history lesson while in the Park. In the park, the Nike Hercules Missile site stands, and it happens to be a relic of The Cold War. Visitors are able to visit the Nike Missile Base by a ranger-guided walk that is offered in the months of December through April. The site is home to 22 buildings and structures.

The Nike Missile Base, also known as Alpha Battery or HM69 Nike Missile Base, is basically the same when it was in use; the site was terminated in 1979. This site was built by the United States Army Corps of Engineers, and was completed in 1964. At this time, the United States’ priority was national security against a Soviet Union attack, so the Army chose the Everglades as a strategic site to build an anti-aircraft missile site. It is located 160 miles from Cuba.

This base was part of a larger missile defense system that was built in southern Florida, because of the Cuban Missile Crisis. There are three other Nike Hercules Missile sites across the state. These Florida missile defenses were integrated with HAWK missile sites to provide better defense capabilities around southern Florida. About 140 people operated three missile barns; they were on guard in case Cuban air strikes occurred. The crew at the Everglades site (known as Battery A) received a meritorious unit commendation from President John F. Kennedy; this was one of the few times an award was presented during this war for a deterrence mission.

In 2004, the base was listed on the U.S. Department of the Interior’s National Register of Historic Places as an historic district. All of the buildings and structures are connected to events that made a significant contribution to American history. The structures include: missile barns, a guard-dog kennel, a missile assembly building, and more.

If you’d like to go to visit this historical site, click here for more details or call 305-242-7700.

After taking in this greatness of this site, why not check out the rest of the park? The best way to do this? An airboat ride. An airboat tour can bring you in many areas of the park that you are unable to access in other ways. To book a ride with Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours, click here or call 800-368-0065.