Aerojet Facility and Family Fun

Written by Captain Mary on Sunday, February 24, 2013

Today we planned a bike ride, with my son, Jason, daughter, Monica, her beloved, Jeff and grandson, Max. We headed out on an amazing adventure to one of Florida's Abandoned Past. A place that is far down into Homestead, passing the farmers fields and just before the Everglades National Park. Down an almost abandoned road lies a facility that has long been forgotten.

The road access is limited, at the end of access are signs "Keep Out", but there is no one to tell us otherwise. It is a good place to explore. Along the roadways are many abandoned buildings. Most doors are welded shut and mounds of rock and soil are piled up, so that no one can access the buildings, but there are many ways in. It reminded me so much of my teens, when it was so much fun to find and explore abandoned houses, farms, fields and what ever else we could find. We would then explore, as if we were on an adventure or perhaps some place in the future where we were looking back into the past. Into the ruins of civilizations that have long past.

The Aerojet Facility has a long past, in the mid 1960's it was testing rockets for NASA, mixing solids and liquid fuels, experimenting until they got it right. After the 3rd launch the facility was forced to close after the toxins from the launch poisoned much of the Everglades, farms and ruined peoples homes and property. The Aerojet 260 rocket still remains at this facility over 100 feet below the ground, sealed off from most on-lookers.The history of the place was just a plus, the environment of the area is what has the most interest. I climbed over mountains of rubble to look at what remained. Darkened corridors made my mind wonder about what it was like some 45 years ago. Like a detective we all looked at gauges and hoses, each building had it purpose and our purpose was to figure out what it once was. Almost every wall was adorned with amazing graffiti, we all spoke of how these artist were wasting their talents on something only a few people will ever gaze upon.

We went into each building, some made sounds that made them very creepy. It was so interesting to see how nature eventually takes over these man-made structures. As the building crumble, they leave behind remnants of asbestos and who knows what other toxins. We looked deep into holes, that are now filled with stagnant water, only wondering what lurks beneath our view. Light fixtures still hanging from the ceiling and attached to the crumbling walls. Canals run along the back of the buildings, where once barges could transport rockets to the Space Coast.

As we entered one of the buildings we were delighted to see a very large Owl take flight, he had a very large wing span and was light in color. As we explored that building we found where he had his meals, little skeletons of rodents remain. The air was so silent I could hear a fly, literally. The only sounds we heard were the creaking of metal and the leaves moving in the wind. So far from civilization, looking at a once bustling facility, now abandoned and virtually forgotten. What remains is a nature trail now and a look into a past that very few will ever see or know about.

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