NAME: Apix
COUNTY: Palm Beach
CLIMATE: hot in summer, moderate to cold in winter
BEST TIME TO VISIT: on government controlled facility land, no access
COMMENTS: On Pratt & Whitney compound, near the intersection of SR 710 (Beeline Hwy) and Indiantown Rd (SR 706). Apix site is on government funded facility property. No access to non Pratt & Whitney or United Technology employees.
REMAINS: unknown
Apix is a ghost town that never was. In the late 1950's 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 it's 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 it's 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 bo! x in front of Pratt & Whitney bears the Apix name as well. Submitted by: Jim Pike

Gate in front of old road leading to Apix site
Courtesy Jim Pike

Railroad signal box in front of Pratt & Whitney compound bearing the name Apix
Courtesy Jim Pike

Close-up of railroad signal box with Apix name
Courtesy Jim Pike

Close-up of gate sign --note bullet holes
Courtesy Jim Pike

1958, rocket engine test stands, for testing the LR115 Hydrogen fueled rocket engine
Courtesy Jim Pike

1958, assembling liquid hydrogen rocket engines Apix
Courtesy Jim Pike

1958, the XLR115 Hydrogen fueled rocket engine. All 1958 photos courtesy of the Florida State Archives collection
Courtesy Jim Pike

1958, overhead view of Apix site. All 1958 photos courtesy of the Florida State Archives site, freely available to the public
Courtesy Jim Pike