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Historic Monroe County Public Library

Welcome to the Historic Monroe County Public Library, stop #5 on the Heritage Monument Trail presented by the Islamorada Chamber Of Commerce.

In the photo you can see all four of the notable aspects of the Historic Library: post, sign, plaque, & library . A plaque on the quarried stone sitting on the ground states much of the next paragraph written. The #5 marker on the posts signifies that this is the 5th stop on the numbered Heritage Monument Trail of Islamorada. The Monroe County Public Library sign sits only 10 feet or so from US-1 at Mile Marker 81.5. The original building is pictured sitting only 30 feet behind the road sign.

Helen Wadley Branch Library: The public library building was constructed originally by the Red Cross and the Works Progress Administration (WPA) three years after the “Great Hurricane” of 1935, to serve as a community hurricane shelter. Prior to that time no protective buildings existed in Islamorada; consequently, hundreds of veterans and local citizens died with little or no protection from high winds and water. The poured concrete and steel walls of the shelter are 18 inches thick at its base. Additionally it served as the local school, replacing the previous school destroyed by the storm. Later it functioned as a church and a U.S. Coast Guard facility before becoming a library in 1966. A library addition was built onto the rear of the original structure in 1983.

The library is one of many stops on the Heritage Monument Trail of Islamorada. You can find this tourists cache of city-packed information located throughout Islamorada at many of the locations detailed within the handout along with the Islamorada Welcome Center.

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World War II Munitions Dumps

I know, I too thought it should be ammunition dumps… we would’ve both been wrong! Upon breaking out my trusty Noah Webster Dictionary and wiping off the cobwebs I flipped open the knowledge-packed novel and became a bit wiser. 🙂 Here’s the difference between munitions & ammunition:

Munitions a broad term that refers to all war material including weapons & ammunition,

Ammunition (ammo) refers to a specific type of munition such as bullets, rockets, gunpowder, grenades or bombs.

These above ground bunker-looking things seen in all of the photos are actually World War II munitions dumps. The munition dumps are now abandoned obsolete unused damp & dark relics of an era long gone by. These history rich stairs & bunkers are located on the northeastern corner of the Truman Annex Navy Base in the southeast corner of Key West. These crumbling cement monuments are an eyesore to most but a beautiful site for a history lover like myself. Upon driving up to the outer fence you’re confronted with these mounds that soar high above all of their surroundings and are impossible to miss. My first guess is that they won’t be around too much longer as the above ground cement portions are crumbling in plain sight. Their frailty is obvious to all that it wouldn’t support today’s standards without a major ‘mucho dinero’ upgrade. It’s a shame that so many locals don’t know of their history or even what they are and just want them torn down. I recommend that you take a side trip to see these dinosaurs among a city setting before they too are gone and can only be found in photos of our past.

         

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Plantations Hammocks Preserve

Located directly beside a very popular city park is this little known overlooked preserve. If you want to be alone, this is your place! 🙂 Welcome to the Plantations Hammocks Preserve!

Most that know of this preserve have parked their cars in front of the rope boundary and cut through the preserve as a short cut to the 50 times larger Founders Park for a featured event. Yes it’s small, it makes a great getaway from the hustle and bustle of its bigger cousin. It will only take 10-15 minutes or so to walk the entire preserve passing its only bench and birdhouse along the way (seen below). Other than that, it’s just a quiet habitat that is bypassed by the masses just waiting for you to stop on by for a picnic or leisurely walk.

You can find the little known and even lesser seen preserve at Mile Marker 87.0 on US-1 bayside.

    

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Gazebo Without A View

From the first time I saw this gazebo I instantly knew there was something wrong. I had never seen a gazebo that didn’t have any sort of view. Hmmm, not strong enough…OK, this gazebo has absolutely NO VIEW AT ALL!

I looked up two dictionary definitions of ‘Gazebo’ and here’s what each defined it as:

1) A structure, as an open or latticework pavilion or summer-house, built on a site that provides an attractive view.

2) A small building, usually in a garden, intended for people to sit in and look out over a beautiful view.
As you can see by the photos below, the bench sits about 50 feet away from the gazebo with a view of the ocean. The gazebo on the other hand lacks its most important attribute… a view! How could the builders put the bench closet to the ocean leaving the gazebo surrounded on three sides by palmetto bushes, trees and shrubs. Oh yeah, did I forget to mention that the gazebos ONLY view is forward facing a desolate portion of US-1… what a blunder!
Oh well, if you’d like to find this ‘Wrong Place Gazebo’ I’ll be more than happy to oblige! This ‘Gazebo Without A View’ is located at Mile Marker 14.3 on US-1 oceanside exactly beside the Saddlebunch Keys sign.

         

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Coast Guard Station Marathon

Welcome to the U.S. Coast Guard Station in Marathon, Florida. Though it’s not a tourist attraction, it does have a totally unique driveway entrance worth using your GPS to find and then pull over for a view of your own. Most drive by this entrance without ever noticing the two channel markers, one is a red triangle while the other is a green square that flank each side of its driveway.

There’s all sorts of markers and buoys dotting the channels leading in and out of any harbor area. For those of you non-nautical landlubbers here’s a crash course in buoy & marker meanings: 1) Red triangle marker represents a ‘NUN’ buoy with even numbers that get higher as you get closer to shore  2) While the green square represents a ‘CAN’ buoy  with odd numbers that get larger as you head out to sea. In everyday human language I’ll make it very simple for you: RED means “Stay On The Right Returning To Port” & GREEN means “Your Heading Out To Sea”.

You can find this most different uniquely signed guarded gateway at Mile Marker 48 on the right side of the road southbound on the Florida Key’s US-1.

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Key West’s Beatles Window- ‘All You Need Is Love’

Beatles – All You Need Is Love

Any Beatles fans out there? I guess that’s truly a stupid question. The song ‘All you need is love’ was released in 1967 and became one of the Beatles string of hits and Rolling Stone magazines top 500 songs of ALL TIME. The Fab Four: Ringo Starr, George Harrison, Paul McCartney, John Lennon are arguably the most famous band of all time in the history of music. Trivia Bar Bet time: What are a few of the earlier names of the band before they officially became the  Beatles: The Nerp Twins, The Silver Beatles, The Beetles, & The Moondogs.

You can find this stain glass window tribute to the Beatles and their famous song at the Hard Rock Cafe in Key West on Duval Street. Just walk inside and head upstairs and approaching the second floor landing on the left you will see it there. Look close and you will see the word Beatles in the middle left side of the glass and then focus on the lower center and you will see a ‘Yellow Submarine’ which was also one of their hits. It’s a great place to walk around and spend 30 minutes in and yes it is FREE!

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Key West’s GIANT Compass

Key West’s GIANT Compass

Where can you find the Florida Keys GIANT Compass? That would be all the way down in Key West! I’d bet that 1,000’s upon 1,000’s of tourists have passed this and NEVER EVER knew they had!

This pedestrian ONLY walkway is miles away from its more famous BIG BROTHER pedestrian mecca of Duval Street. This place in particular has to be hunted down on purpose or just found by accident by those ocean seekers wanting a great view from the one place in Key West that offers the furthest reach into the ocean possible while still attached to dry land. That’s right land-lubbers, it’s a pier!

You can find this finger into the sea on Key West’s less traveled east side of the island at the very end of White Street pier. The views are awesome and you won’t be disappointed I promise! As you can see by the top photo, with a person to judge its width that it’s very grandiose indeed! Below is a full width photo along with a close up showing the ‘N’ north symbol painted on it. Enjoy, this is of course FREE and available for viewing ALMOST everyday of the year… don’t come on July 4th expecting to see it though because the pier is closed due to the fireworks display that take up the piers girth to set up! I’ve even heard that in emergencies this has been used as a heliport… ok, for all you non-aronautical personnel that’s a helicopter landing pad! 🙂

    

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