Historic 7-Mile Bridge (original)

5168582573_51834c450e_mWhat’s the Florida Keys #1 tourist attraction? By far it’s the incredible 7-Mile Bridge! But wait… believe it or not there’s two 7-Mile Bridges!

The older original 7-Mile Bridge was used until 1982, it connected Knight’s Key to the Lower Keys. It was one of the longest bridges in the world! The original name was “Knights Key-Pigeon Key-Moser Channel-Pacet Channel Bridge”… wow, was that a mouth full! Many thanks to those who changed it to the “Seven Mile Bridge”. The bridge was badly damaged by a 1935 hurricane and refurbished by the government as an automobile bridge. Look and you’ll see that the guard rails are made from former railway tracks!

The black pipe on the side of the bridge in the photo below was the freshwater lifeline to the Keys for many years. The bridge also had a swing span that opened to allow passage of boat traffic near Pigeon Key. The vast majority of the original bridge still exists, used as fishing piers and access to Pigeon Key.

The bridges narrow width contributed to its demise. In fact, I remember as a child traveling in our Chevy Chase Griswold Family Vacation station wagon folding in the car side mirror so that the opposing traffic wouldn’t hit it… which happened way to often! Today it’s relegated to foot & bicycle traffic unable to support the former tourist tram that traveled it for years.

You can find the northern end of this historic monument to perseverance on US-1 South at Mile Marker 46.8 heading down to Key West.

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Is This Animal House’s Deathmobile?

IMG_1648Have I found the movie Animal House’s infamous ‘Deathmobile’? A 1978 comedy cult classic hailed as one of the all-time great college party movies ever filmed featuring funny-man John Belushi!

OK, after a side-by-side comparison (seen below) that took only a half second, I guess I didn’t! :-( It was the first thing I thought of when seeing it bringing a big smile to my face… hence today’s blog. It’s kooky enough to giggle at and point to as you pass it driving down the road. Yes, there will be a FEW of you that actually stop and check this parade-type contraption that really does have a small car underneath for its propulsion. Hey, you’re going to pass it on your trip to Key West anyways so why not know it’s just ahead! :-)

You can find this ‘Deathmobile’ wannabe at Mile Marker 53.0 bayside sitting in front of a strip mall and auto parts store.

IMG_1649     Deathmobile Art Car For Sale Front

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Hurricane Hole Bar’s Hurricane Party

IMG_2215Want to know where locals go who stay in Key West during hurricanes? Believe it or not, many (and I mean many) go to their local bars!

Those ‘Conchs’ (people from Key West) who choose to venture out during bad weather partake in what is called a ‘Hurricane Party’. Thou it may not be the smartest move they’ve ever made, it happens yearly by the thousands. The bar with the best name is ‘Hurricane Hole’ which I’m sure gets its fare share of party-goers.

You can find the infamous Hurricane Hole Bar at Mile Marker 4.5 oceanside on US-1 before, during and after any given hurricane. :-)

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President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Flag Pole

This well hidden marker known as ‘President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Flag Pole’  (since bearing his name) is NEVER seen by visitors and passed by locals who live only feet away from it. Forgotten by time and ignored by the masses, this flagpole sits unadorned and alone in a part of town that most would actually avoid going into… but not us! We, upon our customary 3-4hr bike ride around town each day found this secluded landmark begging for a photograph to be taken, and so we did!

Maybe you too will seek out President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Flag Pole for a photograph of your own. You can find this rarely seen relic of a commemorative plaque at the corner of White Street & White Street (I’m not kidding either) here in Key West. The next time I’m in Key West I’m going to photograph the street signs… who knows, that might be a future blog! :-)

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Cosgrove ‘Banyan’ House

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Captain Phillip Cosgrove purchased this stately home for the price of $1,600 in 1871. This was a prime location with its proximity to the deep-water port and in what was then the center of the city. It’s believed that the Captain’s wife Myrtle planted the century old banyan tree, defined by its aerial prop roots, in the front yard for shade. The house remained in the family until 1947.

The Banyan Resort and Guesthouse which is located at 323 Whitehead Street in Key West is known by most visitors and locals for its immense namesake Banyan Trees and is said to be haunted with the ghost of Captain Phillip L. Cosgrove who still haunts the home and gardens. The Banyan Resort originally consisted of six homes that were constructed as private residences during the mid-1800’s. The individual owners of these properties decided to combine their interests in the early 1980’s and convert them into “The Banyan Resort and Guesthouse”.

This beautiful home is #16 on the Key West FREE Audio Walking Tour. Click on this link to read the prior blog about the walking tour.

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Largest Divers Helmet In Keys

IMG_0364Ever seen a ten foot tall scuba diving helmet? -or- Do you know where to find the largest scuba diving helmet in the Keys? Either way, your answer after reading this blog will be ‘YES’!

This my friends is hard to miss while on your way whether driving up or down the Keys. As you can see, this three dimensional helmet is taller than the sign itself and sits only 12′ off the main road.

Want to see what a real one looks like? Here’s a past blog called ‘Historical SCUBA Suit On Display’.

You can find the Florida Key’s largest divers helmet at Mile Marker 83.0 bayside affixed upon a sign on US-1 at the History of Diving Museum. The helmet of course is FREE to view from the outside of the building, a guided tour of the museum’s displays is not free. :-(

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Panther Crossing

Panther Crossing

If you’re lucky and I do mean extremely LUCKY you may see the illusive endangered Florida Panther in its natural habitat. I’ve spoken to a number of people including Park Rangers who’ve worked for 20 years and have NEVER seen one and others who’ve seen only one in their entire lifetime! Rangers estimate fewer than 40 of these beautiful animals remain in this portion of the state.

The “Panther Crossing” sign on your way to the Keys can ONLY be found on Card Sound Road 7.4 miles down heading east. On US-1 at mile marker 126.7 is where you’ll turn onto Card Sound Road. Again, this portion of Card Sound Road doesn’t’ have many mile markers so keep an eye on your odometer. A photo of the sign alone makes for a good picture and conversation piece to tell your out-of-town friends who’ve NEVER seen or heard of a “Panther Crossing” sign! (Though I’ve been told it looks like a big rat!) :-) So good luck!

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