Pieces Of Eight

Do you ever wonder where in the world they come up with street names? Well I do, the more unique they are the more curious I am in finding out their true meaning. Odd street names stick out like sore thumbs to me and I’m always snapping away and then going home finding out exactly its true origin.

Though I’ve always known what ‘Pieces Of Eight’ has meant since being a history buff and seeing 1,000’s of pirate movies over all of my years. Here’s two of the findings when Googling it… one of which is wrong for this particular signs meaning:

1) Pieces of Eight: Is the title of the eighth studio album and second concept album by the rock band Styx, released September 1, 1978 achieving triple-platinum certification. Hmmm… I’m 100% sure that this was not the namesake for the street sign since being surrounded by at least a dozen other pirate related road signs.

2) Pieces of Eight: The Spanish dollar made from silver for the Spanish empire. The ‘eight’ refers to the number of pieces into which each coin could be cut in order to give change as seen below. The pirate connotation comes from the plundering of said pieces on the Spanish ships and fleet.

You can find this Spanish Coin’s namesake at Mile Marker 23.0 bayside by turning onto Spanish Main Road and there it sits on its first left turn.

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Gazebo By The Sea

Location, Location, Location!!! That phrase has been linked to real estate and yet applies fully to this Civil War Fort’s gazebo. True, this old fort has a gazebo overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and oh what a view it is!

Guys, this is that perfect place for a romantic picnic to tell her that “She’s even more beautiful than the view!” Although I said my wedding vows on the banks of the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy only 3 weeks ago, this would be an ideal place locally for those wanting to tie the knot here in the Keys while visiting on their next vacation or holiday.

You too can find this AWESOME gazebo by the sea on the grounds of the West Martello Tower Civil War Fort at Higgs Beach on the southeastern portion of the island. It’s so worth the FREE admission to picnic or just to spend 30-minutes of your next trip to Key West… believe me, you’ll thank me!

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Old Town Trolley’s Hanging Shark

Sharks, Sharks and MORE Sharks! Here’s another Florida Keys shark hanging around just waiting for the closest tourist to stop and take their photo with it. There are literally dozens of these in the Keys some of which are larger, smaller, taller & shorter.

Located all around town in many different locations and throughout the entire length of your drive down the Keys you and your kids will have NO trouble what so ever in finding at least one or two of these on your next trip.

To find this particular hanging shark you have to venture into ‘Old Town’ Key West just one block east of the World-Famous pedestrian mecca of Duval Street’s southern end at the Old Town Trolley Station.

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Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge

The Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge is located in north Key Largo along the lesser traveled route to the Keys on Card Sound Road. This 6,686 acre land refuge (plus 650 acres of open water) opened in 1980 under the Endangered Species Act of 1973.

Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge was supposed to be a residential housing development; however, it became a very important nesting area for the remaining 200 American Crocodiles that had been put on the Endangered Species list in 1975. Numbering some 1,400 strong in 2007, the government ‘down listed’ the American Crocodile from Endangered to Threatened. In addition to being one of only three breeding populations in America, the refuge is home to many different types of habitats including the tropical hardwood hammocks, mangrove forests and a salt marsh. The American crocodiles, once ranging in great numbers, had been hunted for exporting of its hide and skin. Oh yeah, the capturing and hunting of the crocodile is still forbidden.

This sign for Crocodile Lake can be found on Card Sound Road 11.5 miles heading east towards Key Largo. The beginning of Card Sound Road is at Mile Marker 126.7 on US-1 south. Use your car’s odometer since the mile marker signage on this portion of Card Sound Road is terrible at best and totally non-existent in other places! Oh yeah, SORRY to say that this is NOT a public park, it’s a wildlife refuge closed to the public but can be seen by pulling over at any of a number of bridges and clearings along its 13 mile width.

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New York Monument In Key West, Why?

Why in the world is there a monument from the State of New York all the way down in Key West, Florida? Well, if you’ve been reading some of the blogs over the past two weeks then you’ll have some idea… especially if I mention the words ‘Civil War’.

You may recall that Key West, Florida was the southernmost Northern Union Yankees (Blue Coats) stronghold and a thorn in the side of the Southern Confederate Rebels (Grey Coats) that was held onto for the entire Civil War by the Northern troops.

The State of New York lost more men than any other state in the Northern stronghold of Key West and it wasn’t from hostile fire, skirmishes or Civil War battles… but rather from a breakout of the disease Yellow Fever! A number of years later, the State of New York erected a monument to honor those who died and it reads: “The State Of New York In Memory Of The Men Of The Nineteenth And Ninety-First NY Vol Regs Of Infantry Who Perished Here Mainly Of Yellow Fever In 1862”.

You can find this New York Monument in the very front of the northwest corner of Bayview Park located at the corner of Roosevelt Blvd. & Eisenhower Drive in Key West. This is FREE and well worth the 5-minutes it would take to park your car and read this unique tribute from New York to their fallen heroes.

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Capt. Tony’s Bras, Hats & Business Cards

There are many strange, weird, unique, odd & different traditions in many of the bars in Key West and the Keys but none have such a wide variety as Capt. Tony’s! I’ve reported on this bar a number of times in the past, let me recap our previous adventures: Home of the Infamous Death Chains, Tossing coins into the Good Luck Fish’s mouth, Cemetery Headstone located inside the bar, & Famous names painted on their bar stools to name a few! This place indeed has it all! This should rank HIGH on you list of must see attractions for Key West… I mean top 5 for sure!

Here in this installment of Crazy Key West you’ll see that along with the laundry list above their also known for a few other things to boot. Seen below there is a collection of bras… yes, female bras tacked on and hanging from the ceiling along with dozens of mens hats and 1,000’s upon 1,000’s of business cards stapled all over the walls & ceilings throughout the entire bar. Though there are some dollar bills upon the wall & ceiling, it’s not their specialty as in other bars I’ve reported on in several previous blogs.

Formerly the original Sloppy Joe’s Bar, it’s now called Capt. Tony’s Saloon and is located at 428 Greene Street just 1/2 block south of Duval Street. It’s FREE to stop by and wander in amazement of all of the different things packed into one street address as here. DON’T MISS IT, IT’S THAT GOOD!


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Shell’s Shell

Coincidence or not? I seem to notice things like this that others wouldn’t and wonder if the person responsible for it was that good of a thinker or just so happened to do it by accident. In this instance I think it’s the latter.

Here’s Shell’s shell, the Shell gas station has in front of it a large pink conch shell the official symbol of Key West. This is probably tied for the third largest conch shell in the Keys. There are many of this size conch shells spread throughout the entire length of your drive to entice tourist to pull into their establishments in hopes of you loosening your purse strings.

You can find Shell’s Shell on the corner of US-1 & Key Haven Road at Mile Marker 5.3 bayside.

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