Keys – Monroe County’s best kept secret
For a relatively affordable day out in the Keys, you must take a historic tour of Pigeon Key just west of Marathon. This island wasn’t much use to anyone until Henry Flagler needed it to complete the 7 mile bridge for his railroad that he was determined to build all the way to Key West. If you don’t know anything about Henry Flagler he was a partner with Rockefeller and they owned the Standard Oil Company together. He was probably one of the wealthiest men in the turn of the century.
Since then, this 5.31 acre island has had quite a history. It was used as a base camp for the workers who helped to build the railroad. History tells us that the conditions there were terrible and mosquitos, hurricanes, and other atrocities made living on the island horrible for the 400 workers who were housed there for 4 years. In 1912 the railroad was completed but it only lasted until about 1935 when a hurricane did so much damage that it was decided not to fix the railroad.
Today Pigeon Key is a museum that honors the builders of the Key West Extension. The Pigeon Key Foundation is also something you may want to look into. If you go to their website they have a very informative video of what you will see when you go visit. They also have a Marine Science Camp for kids ages 8 to 18.
What I like about this place is there is several ways to get there. If you stop at the Pigeon Key Visitors Center, you can take a trolley down to the island, or you can walk down to it using the old railroad/road that’s no longer used as a railroad but the town utilizes it as a walking trail. Or, if you are in Marathon or Knight’s Key you can take a ferry across the gorgeous blue waters. So if you are into history or just want to go to a private beach, there is one on Pigeon Key.
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