For those not familiar with the Florida Keys - they are an archipelago (a group of many islands in a large body of water) of 1700 islands...that begin at the southeastern tip of Florida...about 25 miles from Miami. The islands lie along the Florida Straits and divide the Atlantic Ocean from the Gulf of Mexico.
For many years, The Keys were only accessible by water....but that changed with the creation of Henry Flagler's Overseas Railway in 1910. On Labor Day in 1935, a massive Category 5 Hurricane, one of only three that have have been recorded to hit land since 1850 (the other two were Camille in 1969 and Andrew in 1992), hit the Middle Keys around Islamorada. This destroyed the railroad and the tracks were never rebuilt. From then on - the Overseas Highway & the 7 mile bridge replaced the railroad as the main access to Key West.
The current seven mile bridge connects the Middle Keys to the Lower Keys...and it bypasses the original bridge and a little island called Pigeon Key..which housed workers that built the railroad in the early 1900's. When the new bridge was built, the state kept 2.2 miles of the original 7 mile bridge..so that the island of Pigeon Key remained connected to Marathon.
Those 2.2 miles remain some of the most scenic in The Keys....bridging together the Atlantic and the Gulf.
|View to the right walking down the bridge.|
|The old bridge. It is so narrow - hard to imagine that this was the main access|
for two way traffic to Key West until 1982. It's replacement is to the left.
|The dock on Pigeon Key|
|The view to the left. The new bridge built in the 1980's.|
|No one's driving on this bridge again!|
|Most of The Keys do not have beaches. This is a typical shoreline.|
|One of the original cottages on Pigeon Key. It is now a museum.|
Some of the scenes on Pigeon Key....
|An old wagon filled with shells, bottles and other interesting items.|
|The original dinner bell, perhaps?|
|This is the wall leading to the restrooms in the visitor center on Pigeon Key.|
|A nice assortment of coral.|
|What a gorgeous shell.|
|The Visitors Center.|
Lovin' life in The Keys.