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Nike Missile Base in Homestead

27 November 2008 // Filed under Photo Ops + Places

I went with my friend, Carol, on an overnight photo shoot to Homestead Miami. We were on a mission, so to speak. I had visited a Nike Missile site years ago, and wanted to return for photos. I had only a general idea of where it was. Thanks to our Bed and Breakfast hostess, whose exhusband had worked on one of the Nike sites, we were able to locate it. Since this was spur-of-the-moment, it was too late to get permission from the state, and we wondered if we would get arrested for trespassing. Carol, who is the smart one, brought some cash for bond money, just in case. As it turned out, though, the place is a favorite spot for paint ballers and, at its entrance, was a hot dog stand!
Our mission for this day’s “shoot” was to photograph derelict buildings… Here is a link — http://ed-thelen.org/loc-f.html

And a short bit about the Nike Missile Program — During the height of the Cold War in the mid-1950s, the U.S. Army began building the bases, which were to be the last line of defense against an enemy air attack. Rings of these bases, or batteries, were built in rural farmland around major metropolitan areas. The bases had two sections, separated by a half mile and sometimes in different towns. One section was the Control Area with radars and computers, a mess hall and administrative building. The other section was the launch section, where missile components were received and assembled. Once assembled, the missiles were fueled and stored in underground magazines. Both sections had barracks. The bases were guarded and operated around the clock.

There were two models of Nike missiles. The Nike-Ajax and the Nike-Hercules. The Ajax were 34 by 4 feet, with speeds up to 1,600 mph at 70,000 altitude. The Hercules reached speeds up to 3,200 mph at 100,000 feet, and could shoulder nuclear warheads.

The program was deactivated in 1974, but continued in some of the Florida bases through the 1970s.

I’m not sure that touring and photographing a missile site is for everyone, but we enjoyed the outing, as we visited other picturesque (non-missile) South FLorida sites as well. For those of you who have made a reservation at my vacation rental in Lake Worth and want to go on this day trip, I suggest that you make an early start and get there before the paint ballers. It’s also a good idea to call the State Parks and Recs ahead to ask for permission to visit the site.

Views of the site

Views of the site

Inside

Inside

Up close

Up close

Checking it out...

Checking it out...

Paint ballers at the Nike site

Paint ballers at the Nike site

On a trip to Homestead

On a trip to Homestead

2008-11-27  ::  Christine

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Talkback x 13

  1. Charles
    16 December 2008 @ 7:45 pm

    What was the location where the Nike Missile base was where the photos were taken?

    Charles in Atlanta

  2. admin
    12 January 2009 @ 1:58 pm

    http://www.nationalparksgallery.com/park_news/7741

    Check out that link! As of today, the Nike Hercules missile base located in the Everglades is offering guided tours!

    The site I visited originally is near Krome Detention Center.

  3. vacations vn
    6 May 2009 @ 12:50 am

    how do you get there? do you have any email from someone who are the local can help us to the trip there?

  4. jeff huggins
    14 May 2009 @ 10:09 pm

    Its been awhile but me and some friends used to ride 4wheelers out to the homestead site around 98,99.I have old papers from there that we found,mostly old blue prints,don’t know what they are but I thought they were interesting.I looked at the base on google maps and it looked like most of the buildings were torn down exept the missile silo,the last time I was there we went down in the missile silo,we went down about 150ft and could see the bottom 15 to 20ft of the bottom was water.it was very interesting out there and hope to return one day.

  5. Charles in Atlanta
    28 October 2009 @ 5:14 pm

    The pictures are th former Nike site (D Battery) that is now the Krome Avenue INS Detention Center. It is located on US 27 (Krome Avenue) a couple of miles south of US 41 (Tamiami Trail)west of Miami. It was built in 1965 following 21/2 years in a tent following the CUban Missile Crisis. The only missiles there were the Nike Hercules of which 25% were nuclear-tipped. The photos are of the Administration area where the administration, mess hall, and domrotories were, and the IFC radar area.

    About a mile closer to US 41 is the INS Detention Center whch was the launch area. The missiles had to be several thousand yards away from the missile tracking radars so it could keep up with it and update the calculated trajectory in comparisom to the incoming aircraft or missile.

    The second missile site that has been referenced is A Battery which is located in Everglades National Park another 15-20 miles south and west outside of Florida City. It is open for tours January through March effective Janaury 2009 on a scheduled appointment through the park.

    For further information on these and the other Nike sites in south Florida, and a bit of history of the Cold War in south Florida, go to http://www.Nike252.org.

    Charles D. Carter
    Nike Historian
    NikeHistorian@Nike252.org

    The history

  6. Armando
    13 March 2011 @ 12:22 pm

    I don’t see any reference to the site on SW 216th Street and 207th Avenue or to the site on 87th Avenue just North of Black Point Marina. How come?

  7. Christine
    14 March 2011 @ 6:35 am

    will look into it. thanks.

  8. robert Pilla
    25 August 2011 @ 6:58 am

    I just photographed the towers at the 216th street site. I am not certain what they are yet but local legend say this was a Niki Missile base. Both Battery A and Battery B were temporarily located near Florida City prior to be combined in their base in the Everglades.

    All the information states the two Batteries were say they were locates 8 miles South and West of Florida City in a tomato field. So I am thinking these 4 towers are for something else. The property is currently being used as a church and I am going to try and gain access for better photos of the remaining structures.

  9. Christine
    25 August 2011 @ 8:42 am

    can you give me a better address? I’m planning a trip down to take photos of another site, and would like to see this site, too!

  10. robert Pilla
    25 August 2011 @ 11:02 am

    Chistine,

    The site is at the corner of SW207th Avenue and and SW 216th Street.

    I have gotten word back that this was “Either C or D Battery, 3rd Battalion, 68th Air Defense Artillery”. You can see comments on the photo here:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/rpilla001/6078892177/

    The site is owned by a religious non profit group and I am going to write them a letter (no email address or phone number) to attempt to gain access to the site without trespassing.

    You can look through my flickr account for other abandoned and interesting stuff around Miami.

  11. Christine
    25 August 2011 @ 11:09 am

    Great! Can’t wait to see your other photos! Let me know what the church says, along with passing along contact info. I see I’ll be making another trip for this one, and another site that Armando told me about (see earlier comment)!

  12. robert Pilla
    25 August 2011 @ 12:04 pm

    If you are planning a trip to the site North of Black point, I am afraid there is not much left there:

    http://wikimapia.org/1648736/Old-Cold-War-Missile-Base

    While the basic road structure is there, everything else is bulldozed.

    here is a good site for some reference points:

    http://www.nike252.org/default.htm

    Also, To be accurate the missile base you shot above is not in Homestead. It is west of Miami and designated as HM-95. Homestead is another 20 miles south. This base is now “shut down” The DOD is really picky about anyone going in there now.

    However, Look at this one in Key Largo, HM-40 B Battery:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/rpilla001/sets/72157623814644913/

    If you want a long Bike ride:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/rpilla001/sets/72157625122177656/

  13. Robert Pilla
    26 August 2011 @ 11:26 am

    I posted a boat load of information for you yesterday but it seems to be deleted. Contact me in private for more information. Not going to waste my time posting here if the bots are going to delete it.

    rpilla001@yahoo.com

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