Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Now For A Real Post

This past weekend, my husband and I went "urban exploring". If you google this phrase, you'll get tons of links to ..... you guessed it.....urban explorers - people, mostly young and spry, who investigate (read "trespass" or "break in") abandoned buildings in any given city on the planet. These are people after my own heart. I am a frustrated archeologist and explorer. I can think of nothing more fascinating than sneaking into an abandoned building and seeing what can be found.

We went to a site in the Everglades, off the Ingraham Highway (#9336) and turned off on a road called "Aerojet". On the left side is the nifty "Everglades Youth Camp" - actually a juvenile prison surrounded by high barbed wire fencing. As you proceed about a 1/2 mile down the paved road, there are lots of trees on the right, and on the left about 300 feet off the road, are abandoned concrete buildings, some of which are 2 stories high. There are lots of buildings spread out over acres, and the road that leads off to the left, towards them, is blocked. There are "no trespassing" signs EVERYWHERE, and of course, a piece of fencing is down (torn down) and easy access to the whole place is before us.

We did not go in.

We are not young. We do not have a gun. There was an empty white pickup parked where we stopped and no human(s) to be seen.

We do not want to go to jail. So we didn't go in. But we WANTED to REALLY REALLY REALLY bad. If we could just get a bunch of people to go with us, we would feel safer - except we would certainly be noticeable then......

We're going back. Until we have the chutzpah to trespass.

When we got home, we did mucho internet research and found out that Aerojet Corp purchased some 35 acres at that spot in the 60's.....they experimented with solid rocket boosters, with the idea of shipping them via water to Cape Canaveral for the Space Race. In fact, a whole canal was created that runs all the way to the Bay and under Card Sound Road. When you are on Card Sound Road (I read this, but have not seen for myself), you come to this canal, there is a bridge that opens up - and the question arises, "why is there a bridge like this on a small canal?" The answer is the Saturn V rockets that would have floated underneath, on their way to Aeroject in the Everglades.

The location never did well, they ran a few tests, never hired the employees they thought they would - and it all went down the drain.......Aerojet, who purchased the land for about $50.00 an acre, sold to the South Florida Water Mgmt. District for about $1.78 million - and the SFWMD is turning the area into a "buffer" area between Homestead/Redlands agricultural runoff and the Everglades National Park, directly to the south of the Aeroject site. It is already a place for hunters during the season, and is listed alternately as "Frog Pond" or "Lucky Hammock". Birders go there in the winter and many migratory species are reported there.

Well - that is our research....and there those buildings stand "to this very day."
The End


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