OSCEOLA COUNTY – The 2022 Great Florida Cattle Drive zig-zagged across Florida ranches Dec. 4-10 to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the arrival of cattle in Florida. After the hundreds of riders made camp every night, they were entertained by singers and story tellers.
One night at the campfire, Chuck Hardwick from Satsuma Florida shared the tale of a Florida ghost town that isn’t a ghost town because it never really existed to begin with.
“Apix, Florida was a small town, platted, with about 7,000 homes in Palm Beach County,” Hardwick explained. “If you were to drive through Apix back in the 1950s, probably the only thing you would find was a little general feed store. That was it. But it was platted. It was given a population, the whole nine yards like a regular town would have.”
But in reality, the town of Apix only existed on paper.
APIX was an acronym for “Air Products Incorporated, Experimental.”
“It was a coverup by the government to hide the fact they were testing hydrogen engines out at Pratt Whitney,” said Hardwick.
“It didn’t come to light until one retired officer from the Army saw big tanker trucks going in. A tanker truck usually has a single wheel on the back. These trucks, because hydrogen is so heavy, had double wheels.
“He saw these double wheels on the back and he got suspicious. They wound up sending a contingent down from Washtington to get him straightened out.
“Then one of the weigh guys who worked for the state saw the truck one day and pulled it over and weighed it and found it to be overweight, and told him he had to dump his load to get under the weight.
“You can imagine what that driver went through.
“The only thing left of Apix, Florida now is there is a little railroad box at the entrance to the J. Corbett Wildlife Area and on that railroad box are the letters A-P-I-X,” Hardwick added.
The Florida Memory Project explains: “In the late 1950’s the government created a fictitious town named Apix (Air Products Incorporated, Experimental) to build and test rocket engines powered by liquid hydrogen in order to keep pace with Soviet Union developments. Highly classified and requiring a large degree of secrecy, the project was given the code name “Suntan”. Land near the testing ground was platted for houses to conceal the true nature of the site and Apix was even given a bogus population to add to its cover as a small fertilizer-producing community. By June 1959 the use of liquid hydrogen was determined to be too costly, the project was abandoned and Apix was dismantled.”
According to Wackyexplorer.com, the cover created for a facility building was that it was a fertilizer plant.