Tag Archives: us-1 south

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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Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

Welcome to the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary office who represents, supports & promotes their many affiliates throughout the Keys.

Although this is the main office, there’s still a FREE display of maritime memorabilia throughout its facility as you can see by the two photos below of glass cases filled with artifacts. There’s also a maned information counter full of FREE brochures, maps and other oceanic related handouts. Posted on the walls are a number of very interesting maps that document EVERY known location of shipwrecks, ocean depths & lighthouses throughout the Keys to name a few. Though they welcome tourists & visitors with open arms please remember that this is an office that supports and promotes its affiliates and therefore is open during normal working business hours. They represent NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), Wild Bird Sanctuary & Florida Department Of Environmental Protection and many others. I’ve driven by this for years yet have only stopped in recently and glad that I did. I too hope you’ll have time to do the same on your next visit!

You can find the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary home office at Mile Marker 95.1 bayside here in the beautiful Florida Keys.

         

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Patroling Key West By Water

Don’t think that Key West being an island has only a land-based patrol force! Seen here are two of the Key West Police boats used to keep Key West locals and those wild tourists in check while in paradise. The larger of the two is for open water (Atlantic Ocean & Gulf Of Mexico) while the smaller is used to monitor the many small canals & channels that dissect and lead into the islands interior.

You can find these Police Boats, when not in action, beside Key West’s boxing complex located at DeKalb Avenue sandwiched between the main entrance to Fort Zachary Taylor and the rear entrance to the Naval Air Station Truman Annex.

    

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