Apix

I went to Apix, located in Palm Beach County, on 3/26/2017.

According to the ghost town website,

Apix is a ghost town that never was. In the late 1950s a plan was set in motion to develop, build, and test rocket engines powered by liquid hydrogen. It was thought that Russia’s Sputnik used liquid hydrogen fuel, and as such our government needed to develop its own technology to keep up. The test center would need to be in a remote location, for security as well as to minimize the damage any major test accidents may produce. Western Palm Beach County, barely inhabited at the time, seemed a perfect fit. United Aircraft acquired a large tract of land, ending up with 27 square kilometers of sand, scrub pine, and swamp –well suited for remote experimental engine testing. This land became Palm Beach County’s Pratt & Whitney location. During initial operations, wandering alligators were a common sight. The development and testing of liquid hydrogen fuel was highly classified, and called for a supreme level of secrecy. The project was given the code name “Suntan”, the location was referred to as “Mama Bear” (Papa and Baby Bear were two other aborted locations) and the site was known outwardy as the Apix Fertilizer Plant. Apix was an acronym for Air Products Incorportated, Experimental. The fertilizer association was encouraged by the Air Force and Air Products to hide the real identity of the product. Land near the test site was platted for houses, though strictly done to further conceal the true nature of the site. Thus, the “town” of Apix was born. Apix was even given a bogus population to add to its cover as a small fertilizer producing community. By late June 1959, the use of liquid hydrogen was determined to be too costly, the results were not deemed a significant enough improvement improvement over the current propulsion systems in place, and the project was abandoned. The Apix site was dismantled and the cover of being a small town was dropped. Despite the fact that it was never really a town, the Apix name still appears on road maps, and the railroad box signal box in front of Pratt & Whitney bears the Apix name as well. By Jim Pike

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