Photo by Nomeus, 2007 -

The Elysium Assisted Living Facility

Photo(Nomeus, 2007 – Following this exploration, the building would deteriorate drastically as kids found the place.

Owned by Elysium Group U.S. Holding Inc., the Elysium assisted living facility opened in 1992, though the building was built in 1987.

Built on over 8-acres of land, which were initially bought for $3,365,000, the facility included semi-private, private or private suites for residents. For recreation, the residents could “relax by the pool, fish in the pond, engage in a game of billiards, or enjoy one of the many other activities organized by our activities director.”

The facility was closed down in 2006, possibly due to structural damages by Hurricane Wilma a few months prior. Shortly afterwards, as with most suburban abandonments, the facility was discovered by local kids. Glass, black mold, and left over syringes were just a few of the hazards that the building held as this proved to be true when a fire broke out in 2008. Due to the fire, the building was slated for demolition just a few months afterwards.

Demolition of the structure ended in August 2009.

Photo(Nomeus, 2007 – Many possessions were left behind including clothing, photos and even medicine.

Photographer: Nomeus
Year Taken: 2007
Website: FLURBEX

Photo by Bullet, 2011

Everglades Gatorland

Photo: A postcard from the 1960s, which shows how the place looks in it’s heyday.

Beginning in Miami’s Little Havana and ending at the small town of Havana, FL near the Georgia border, Highway 27 was the road in which millions of post-war tourists and migrants first ventured across the state. Now just a long stretch of road spanning across miles of sugar fields, it was once the backbone of Florida’s tourism industry; before Disney World existed and odd roadside attractions were the norm.

Just south of the town of South Bay on US 27 are what remains of Everglades Gatorland, a small roadside zoo which became known for their live alligators. It began as a gas station run by J.C. Bowen, former mayor of South Bay and his wife Mary Lou. Because tourists who stopped at the station would ask where they can see alligators and other native Florida animals, in 1959, they started Gatorland with alligators caught in the lake just behind the building. They would eventually expand and acquire exotic animals such as ocelots, koala mundi and a king vulture.

Photo by Jim Pike, 2012
Photo(Jim Pike, 2012): The lake located behind the building was where most of the alligators were acquired.

In the 1960s, alligator poaching had gotten out of hand. In 1965, poachers used a .22-caliber rifle to shoot and carry off three alligators from Gatorland while the night watchman was off-duty. The American Alligator was put on the first endangered species list in 1967.

That same year, Florida was the first in the country to establish new regulations for captive animals which covered minimum pen size for each group of animals, sanitation and animal care. These new regulations put many roadside zoos out of business, but Gatorland were able to meet the requirements and stay in business. The establishment stayed strong throughout the 70s and 80s. By the 90s though, there weren’t any gators left as the time and cost to care for them wasn’t worth it. Business wasn’t booming anymore as the Bowens continued selling souvenirs to the rare tourist who would use the restroom or ask for directions.

Near the lake where the alligators were caught, the concrete pens and cages which held the animals remain and the souvenir shop still sits on the side of Highway 27, gutted and overgrown, with a faded sign still advertising ” Live Alligators”.

Photo by Bullet, 2011
Photo(Bullet, 2011): The fate of this small structure is still unknown.

Photographer: Bullet
Year Taken: 2011

Photographer: Jim Pike
Year Taken: 2012

Photo by Bullet, 2009

Nike Missile IFC Site HM-95, D Battery

Photo: A satellite view of the facility taken during it’s operation.

Built in 1965 by the U.S. Army in response to the Cuban Missile Crisis. This Nike site, like many others, was split into two locations. One was the Launcher area (L), where the missiles were actually located. The Launcher area was located where is now Krome INS Facility. The other location was the radar communications and control facility (IFC), where they did targeting and fire control.

All the Nike missile sites in South Florida were decommissioned in the mid-1979 after it was decided that they offered nothing to the security of the nation.

Photo by Bullet, 2009
Photo(Bullet, 2009): The IFC site has sat abandoned since the late-80s.

In 1985, the IFC location was reused as a CIA Office of Communications, Regional Relay Facility, high frequency radio transmitter site. The HF receive site & a larger Agency facility was located on the grounds of the former Naval Air Station Richmond. Both sites had signs indicating they were US Army Regional Communications Activity(NCS) stations. In conjunction with another CIA operation at the Richmond Naval Air Station, they relayed messages to other operatives in the Caribbean and S. America. The IFC site also housed a mobile command center which would be used in case of a nuclear crisis. In 1992, due to damages done by Hurricane Andrew, the facility was stripped and vacated.

On May 5th, 1980, the Launcher area opened as a refugee camp to temporarily house illegal Haitian immigrants, which at the time was known as Krome Camp. A year later in May 1981, the camp was converted into a permanent detention center. Since its opening, there have been a large number of reports of mistreatment and violence, ranging from riots, murder, and suicide.

Photo(Bullet, 2009): Frequented by locals, the property is in a disgusting state, covered every inch in graffiti and garbage strewn throughout the woods around it.

Today, the Krome Detention Center is now called Krome INS Facility, where it is used to detain and remove criminals and other deportable illegal immigrants.

The IFC site, though, has since been left abandoned and vandalized. Today, it’s a local urban legend to have been a secret mental asylum where ghosts, murderers still reside. Some folks claim to have seen a woman in a white gown, a past resident of the asylum, who strolls the compound asking if you can help her. Others have said that they’ve been chased out by a man in a black bandanna wielding a machete, the father who took his newborn child to abandonment and butchered him inside. A few even claim that the property was actually a secret detention center where they use to house Korean spies but you won’t find that information anywhere because it’s something “the government doesn’t want you to know about.”

The site is visited frequently by graffiti artists, photographers, paintball teams, kids just looking for a scare, and on occasion, the police. There are no future plans for the site.

Photo(Bullet, 2009): There’s not much left of the facility but concrete walls and dried paint.

Photographer: Bullet
Year Taken: 2009

Photographer: AKBC
Year Taken: 2010

Photographer: Robert Lyon
Year Taken: 2013
Website: Lyon Aerials
Robert Lyon, 2013