Attractions: Upper Keys :: Middle Keys :: Lower Keys :: Key West
Dolphin Research Center
Grassy Key, Marathon FL 33050
Telephone: (305) 289-1121
Key Colony Beach Park
One mile offshore on the ocean side of U.S. 1 at Mile Marker 78.5. The island is administered as the Indian Key State Historic Site and is accessible only by private boat or charter boats available at nearby marinas.
For more information write or call: Indian Key State Historic Site, c/o Lignumvitae Key State Botanical Site, P.O. Box 1052, Islamorada, FL 33036
The history of Indian Key spans from thousands of years before the arrival of the Spanish in Florida, when the key was the home to prehistoric Indians, to the 1830s when Indian Key was the seat of Dade County. Wrecking, the salvage of vessels wrecked on offshore reefs, has been an important industry in the keys since the late 1700s. Under the direction of Jacob Housman, who bought the island in 1831, Indian Key challenged Key West as a wrecking center. Housman built a store, hotel, residences, warehouses and wharves as he turned Indian Key into a busy port. In 1836 he had the Legislative Council establish Dade County with Indian Key as the county seat. This prosperous community came to a violent end on August 7, 1840, when the town was attacked and burned by Seminole Indians during the Second Seminole War. The remains of stone foundations and cisterns can be seen today on walking trails.
P.O. Box 35
MM 53.5 OS,
Marathon, FL 33050
Telephone: (305) 289-1533
Overseas Highway and Railway Bridges
The bridges are part of US Highway 1 connecting the Florida Keys to the Mainland.
The construction of the Overseas Highway and Railway Bridges was very important to the economic development of the Florida Keys. The bridges are significant surviving elements of Henry Flagler's Florida East Coast Railway intended to open the Florida coast for development. Begun in 1905 and completed in 1912, the bridges were intended to connect the Florida Keys to the mainland. The construction of Key Bridge began in 1906 and was completed in 1907; the 6.7 mile long Knight Key Bridge was constructed from 1909 to 1912; and the Old Bahia Honda Bridge (no longer in use), was also constructed from 1909 to 1912. The railroad extension was short-lived. In 1935 a severe hurricane hit the area and destroyed more than 30 miles of track. In the following years, the bridges were restored and converted from rail to vehicular traffic. The bridges helped open the area to tourism and today are part of U.S. Highway 1 connecting the Florida Keys to the mainland. Because of their remote location and the construction techniques employed, experts consider the bridges to be significant engineering achievements.