It seems like everywhere today developers come in and build big complexes of condos, hotels, or strip malls. Sometimes it betters the landscape when taking the place of old, dilapidated structures. But all too often they end up taking out forests or other pieces of history, and it is really sad for us and for future generations when that happens. Especially so in the Florida Keys where there is so little land to take over. The fate of Pigeon Key just of of Marathon could have gone as so, but instead the Pigeon Key Foundation was started to protect the island from development and maintain it as a historical landmark.
What makes Pigeon Key so special? Historically, a lot. From 1908 to 1912 the 4.5 acre island of Pigeon Key is where Henry Flagler’s workers lived while they built the Overseas Railway. After the bridge was completed workers that tended the Moser Channel swing bridge lived there; the island became a full fledged town with a post office, a grocery store, a bar, a school and a church.
Today, the island that was aptly named for its first inhabitants along with a two mile stretch of Flagler’s bridge connecting the island to Marathon, is a popular place for locals and tourists alike to visit. The bridge has an almost constant flow of joggers, power walkers, and bicyclists on it everyday.And island visitors can snorkel near the dock, picnic, fish, walk around the island, and take a guided tour.
You can get there by walking or biking the old span of bridge from Marathon or you can take a ferry over which depart from nearby Knight’s Key daily at 10:00 am, 11:30 am, 1:00 pm, and 2:30 pm. The last ferry to bring you back to Knight’s Key departs at 4:00 pm. Admission is $12.00 for adults and $9.00 for children and locals.