It’s time once again for another Florida Key’s History lesson… so open up your books to page 24 and pay attention! 🙂
Tea Table Key Indians lived on this island over 1,000 years ago. In 1722, it was known as Boys Island better known today as Tea Table Key. In December 1838, Lt. Coste established a Naval Base here and named it Fort Paulding. This was the base where the West Indian Squadron use to blockade the coast to keep the Indians from receiving supplies from the Bahamas or Cuba. Did you know that the United State Navy’s FIRST steamship “The Sea Gull” was based here? True, that will be on tomorrows quiz.
While the Navy was looking for Indians in the Everglades one fateful day, the Indians attacked nearby Indian Key on August 7th, 1840 destroying the village which was then the county seat of Dade County. Can you imagine, the Dade County Courthouse was once right here in sight on the next island! Amazing isn’t it, the scope and amount of interesting little tidbits that can be learned on-line these days!
Scott, I see you in the back over there dozing off… do you want to go in timeout? That’s better, class is almost over. 🙂 You can find this historical plaque at Mile Marker 79.8 on the left side of the road driving south on US-1.
I thought I’d seen everything before… that’s until we ran across this! While riding our bikes around town we stumbled upon this capturing our attention and obviously made us laugh. This shell car is covered with all shapes of shells on all sides of the car, roof, doors, hood, trunk, side panels and now making its way to the bumpers. I’ve seen cars in the past with spoons, forks and others adornments covering their rides but this shell car is the first I’ve seen in Key West. I wonder what brand of gasoline they use… hmmm, maybe Shell? 🙂
You too can get your jollies off by tracking down this seashell sedan and getting your souvenir photo by heading over to somewhere near the corners of either Petronia Street & Florida Street or Petronia Street & Georgia Street here in Key West.
Did you take ‘Buoy 101’ as part of your college curriculum? Don’t worry, I didn’t either. I bet that 99.9% of average Joes and 99.8% of fisherman couldn’t tell you the meaning of every single color, shape, size, number, letter, lit or unlit buoy is either! 🙂 BUT if your interested, here’s a chart I found titled ‘Know Your Buoys’ that’ll explain ANYTHING & EVERYTHING you ever wanted to know and MORE about buoys! (WOW… I bet you’re really fired up to read it now) 🙂
You can find this ‘Know Your Buoys’ sign and MORE at Key West’s City Marina beside the Palm Avenue Causeway in Key West’s northwest portion of the island.
Turtle Kraals Slaughter-House Museum
I hope and pray that all of our local Keys readers and anyone else in Irma’s path to the north made it through her direct hit on Cudjoe Key. We’ve been off-line a few days now with NO electrical power, NO wifi or internet, NO cell phone service & NO A/C. We’re back, here’s one from historic Key West with HOPES that it too made it through the storm!
This Turtle Kraals Museum is the former home of Granday Turtle Cannery. This historic slaughter-house can be found on the northwest side of Key West in the area known as Harbor Walk. Oh yeah, the word “Kraals” is Dutch for ‘pens or corral’. It was here that captured green turtles were kept prior to being exported as a delicacy around the world. The first turtle soup cannery opened in Key West in 1849 and Granday soon came to dominate the industry. With his cannery conveniently situated right on the dock, turtles were brought in from the sea, kept in the kraals along the shore and fed until they went to the cannery. The turtle industry flourished in Key West until its end in the early 1970’s due to diminishing numbers of green turtles in the Caribbean.
Today, the green turtle is an endangered species and fights for survival. Green turtles are rare and beautiful creatures to see, and if you’re lucky enough, you might spot one in the waters off Key West. Thanks to conservation measures, wildlife rescue and hatchling program, the green turtle population has substantially increased. You can view photos from the bygone era throughout the museum. The artifacts outside the museum are FREE to view and read about (meat grinder) as seen below. The building is awesome in its own right as you can see from the above photo and is worth a walk around when on Harbor Walk. Having grown up in Key West as a child (prior to 1970), I was fed a steady stream of turtle steaks, turtle soup, turtle kabob, turtle sandwich, turtle filet, fried turtle, grilled turtle, and the Forest Gump list could go on for an hour as he did with his list of shrimp products eaten… and yes… it tastes like chicken! 🙂
Hey, is that Daryl Hannah from the movie ‘Splash”? Sorry guys NO it’s not, but if you want to see the largest mermaid / siren in the Key’s well here it is! Her name is Lorelei which means ‘Murmuring Rock’ in a combined German & Celtic translation. (similar to the noise a mountain stream makes over pebbles in the riverbed but 1,000 times louder)
According to myth and lore, Lorelei was a beautiful enticing siren that lured sailors from the sea towards her with an enchanting sound that would lead them to their demise. This legend can trace Lorelei to a real place in history, on the Rhine River in Germany there is a rock named Lorelei (pictured below taken from Wikipedia) that is the birthplace of the legend. Here’s the lore: Lorelei is falsely accused of maliciously bewitching men and driving them to ruin; later pardoned and on the way to a nunnery she passes and climbs the Lorelei rock, watching out for the lover who abandoned her, and falls to her death; the rock still retained an echo of her name afterwards. Amazing the things you can learn from a FREE daily BLOG!
Now here’s where to find this enchanting 20′ tall mermaid / siren of the Keys. Go to Mile Marker 82.0 US-1 bayside and there she will be at the Lorelei Restaurant & Cabana Bar. She is kind of hot and sexy though isn’t she guys, I asked her out once and all I got was a murmuring sound! It was probably for the best, I would’ve felt kind of awkward taking her to a fish fry!
Hurricane Irma is setting its sights directly on millions in Miami which includes my wife and I making me wonder why it’s such and icon for Florida. Be safe to all and pray for us who stay and try to stick it out. Now here’s today’s related blog:
Hurricanes are an unfortunate part of the package deal when living in south Florida and the Keys. Is it necessary to name our schools, mascots & teams after them… evidently so!
Here’s just two examples that you’ll see on your way down to Key West. First is Key Largo Elementary School (pictured below in blue) in Key Largo at Mile Marker 104.9 on the left hand side of US-1 heading south.The second one can be found in the town of Tavernier at the Coral Shores High School “Home of the Hurricanes” located at Mile Marker 90 also on the left hand side of US-1 headed south.
Though not in the Keys, who can forget the University of Miami Hurricanes that’s the big brother to all of the previous. As you can see, though we fear them, respect them, we still name our schools, mascots & teams after them with no fear what so ever… or is it that we name them such to put fear in our opponents! Either way, south Florida and the Keys is the capital, or in this case ‘hurricane central’ for school pride that has been brought up for generations and indeed pulses through our veins and runs in our blood!
Key West’s AIDS Memorial
The White Street AIDS Memorial was dedicated on World AIDS Day, December 1, 1997. It was built with private funds and then donated to the City of Key West and maintained as a park. At the time of dedication, 730 names were included in random order. In succeeding years, additional names have been added. Key West, with a population of about 25,000 residents, has been especially hard-hit by the AIDS plague. There are now more than 1,000 names engraved on the Memorial.
The Key West AIDS Memorial is a tribute to the people who have died of AIDS, their names are inscribed on flat granite monuments which are embedded in the walkway approaching White Street Pier at the Atlantic Ocean. The real tragedy is the individual saga behind every single name on this list, the suffering to each person, their friends, and their families each had to endure. The White Street memorial has a capacity to commemorate over 1,500 souls. Additional names will be engraved yearly, and dedicated on World AIDS Day, December 1st. I encouraged you to visit the memorial, it’s designed as a quiet peaceful resting area overlooking the splendor of the Atlantic Ocean. Along with the list of names engraved in granite, three poems are also set in stone.
I’ve found a GIVE A SMILE mailbox that says “If You See Someone Without A Smile Give Them One Of Yours”. Living life at a slower pace of life down here gives most a better chance of passing on smiles in this island chain paradise we call the Florida Keys.
**Bonus Points for those who noticed** If you were VERY observant in a recent post, you can see the mailbox on the right hand side of the LARGEST roadside propeller in the entire Florida Keys.
You can find the ONLY Florida Keys ‘Give A Smile’ mailbox exactly beside the roadside propeller on what’s simply called ‘The Old Highway’ signed North C-905 just one road removed from US-1 at Mile Marker 87.9 oceanside behind the Coral Medical home equipment company.
Dam… or is it Damn? 🙂 I’ve been here twice now and have yet to see a soul in sight! Yep, I was the ONLY person each time… that is unless you count the 158,314 mosquitos that were swarming around me as I was trying to take these photos.
Though I’m not sure exactly what they call this, it’s not your typical dam, I am sure that it’s some kind of water flow control structure that makes for a very different type of Florida Keys photo and is an incredible sight to see up close. (seen below)
You can find the ‘Damn of a Dam’ in a little known boat ramp of a park (with no facilities) at Mile Marker 116.4 on the left side of US-1 South beneath the overpass to the right on what is commonly called the “18-Mile Stretch”.
Here’s a blast from the past and STILL one of the most read blogs I’ve ever written! I hope you enjoy the retro info!
Most people can’t tell the difference between crocodiles and alligators! I for one have fallen into this trap; on Dec. 21, 2011 I wrongly included both in the blog “A Rare Crocodile Crossing Sign” and will now set the record straight. Here are SOME of the subtle but yet distinctive differences:
Habitat: Alligators prefer a freshwater habitat, while crocodiles prefer to live in saltwater or brackish water (saltwater & freshwater mix). Behavior: Alligators try to flee in most times when approached by humans, while crocodiles tend to attack anything that comes across nearby. Crocodiles are ferocious man eaters. Body Coloration: Alligators are mostly blackish or gray, whereas the color of crocodiles is olive-green or brown. Snout Shape: Alligators have a broader ‘U’ shaped snout, whereas the snout shape of crocodiles is narrow and form a V towards the end. Jaw Placement: The jaw placement of an alligator is such that the upper jaw is wider and covers the lower jaw completely. In case of a crocodile, the width of the upper and lower jaw are the same. Hind Legs: In alligators, there is the absence of a noticeable jagged fringe in the hind legs, whereas these fringes are present in the hind legs and feet of crocodiles. Dermal Pressure Receptors (DPRs): DPRs are small, black, sensory pits that help in detecting changes in the water pressure for locating their prey. In alligators, DPRs are present only around the jaw, whereas in crocodiles, these sensory organs are present in nearly every scale of their body. Salt Gland: The crocodiles use these salt glands for excreting excess salt from the body, whereas in alligators, these salt glands are non functional. This is the reason why crocodiles can tolerate saltwater and alligators cannot.
So the next time you visit the Everglades, Florida Keys or even a zoo, try taking note of your new wealth of knowledge in identifying the differences in crocodiles and alligators! Thank you James W. for your insight of the subject and bringing it to my attention!