ONLY 3 left in the entire WORLD! Welcome to Sugarloaf Key’s Historic Bat Tower. Built in 1929 by Richter Clyde Perky, a fish lodge owner, to control the mosquito problem in the Lower Keys. However, when the 10,000 Cuban Bats (another source says 1,000) were put in, they simply flew away on the first night never to return.
The tower was built from plans purchased from a Dr. Charles Campbell, an early pioneer of bat studies and Nobel Peace Prize nominee. The Hygiostatic Bat Roost, as Campbell called it, was intended to be a roost for bats that would eat the mosquitoes that caused the dreaded scourge malaria. There are three Campbell bat towers still standing (all in the USA) out of an original fourteen to sixteen built world-wide. One remains in Comfort, Texas; and one at the Shangri-La Gardens in Orange, Texas. Perky’s Bat Towers unusually dark color is not from any stain, it from being nearly burnt down in 1943 and has also somehow survived a dozen or so massive Florida hurricanes… this was built to last but don’t wait too long!
Two notable mentions: 1) This very Bat Tower is used as a setting in the Tim Dorsey novel, Torpedo Juice. 2) During the 2008 Fantasy Fest Parade, a float depicting the historic bat tower complete with bats and mosquitoes flying around it was as odd of scene as the parade was.
The Sugarloaf Key Bat Tower is a historic site in Monroe County, Florida. On May 13, 1982, it was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
You can find this unique oddity located about a half mile west of US-1 on Lower Sugarloaf Key at Mile Marker 16.9 bayside exactly at the large Airplane Rides & Sky Diving sign at the mouth of the road. Enjoy this rare delight, it’s worth it!