Missile base in Everglades opens to visitors

President John F. Kennedy loved the James Bond classic From Russia With Love and the fictional Agent 007 and his exploits to outwit his Cold War enemies.

In the real world, however, Kennedy and his military advisors took the threat of a Soviet-armed Cuba seriously enough to build a missile site deep in the Everglades, where projectiles capable of traveling at 2,700 mph were stored and could be launched in 15 minutes.

Known as Nike Hercules Missile Base HM-69, the site in Everglades National Park recently opened to the public. Through April, visitors can take a 90-minute driving and walking tour to see the missile assembly building, the three barns where the 12 missiles were stored, the guardhouse, an underground control room and surrounding berms that still tower as silent sentinels.

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