There are a multitude of unique plant and animal species that set the Everglades apart, but there is another feature which separates Everglades from every other National Park – the presence of a nuclear missile base.
HM-69 was created during the tensions of the Cuban Missile Crisis, and had 3 launch units, each with 4 missiles. The missiles, outfitted with a nuclear warhead, were to serve as a defense against missiles launched from Cuba.
Each of the launch units also support an above ground defense bunker; unlike bunkers at many other military bases, they had to be built above ground because the water table is just under the surface in the Everglades, and anything built underground is quickly overtaken by water. The same logic applies to the missile launch pads themselves – in many installations, the missiles would be stored just under the launch pad, and raised to the surface to be prepped for usage, but in Everglades, they are house in the missile barn and then moved to the launch pad using a track system.
HM-69 was the last remaining fixed air defense missile system to remain in operation, finally closing its doors in 1979 when its control was relinquished to the National Park System.