Sunday, November 27, 2011

Florida Keys {Day 6: Pigeon Key}

On Friday, our last real day in the Keys, we decided to go to Pigeon Key. It's this really neat, historical little island where the railroad workers for the Overseas Railroad lived during the early 1900s. Sometimes there were as many as 400 men living on this little island!

Here's the key as seen from the new bridge.

This little island reminds me of Gilligan's Island. You're welcome for the fact that you now have the theme song stuck in your head. :)

You can only get to Pigeon Key in two ways:
-Take the ferry ride there (which is actually just a small boat), or
-Walk two miles on the old bridge to the key.

For the boat ride, you leave from the Visitor's Center.

Marmee does not like boat rides. So she was pretty nervous about getting there while we were waiting for the first boat to depart. :)

This is the boat we rode:

It's about a fifteen minute ride by boat. The only people who went out on this boat for the tour were the four of us and then two other people. Our guide also rode along with us.

When we got there and climbed off onto the dock, our tour guide led us to some chairs under shady trees. And then she told us all about the history of the island and Henry Flagler's railroad. This was so fascinating! Maybe it's just me and I'm a history nerd, but our guide was so informed and she explained everything in a really interesting way. :) I absolutely loved hearing about what life was like in this area in the 1910s and in the years after that.

{I promised myself I would remember some of the really amazing stuff she told us, so I could write about it here. But it's been a month and some things are fuzzy. But you can read more about the history on the website here. Also, Pigeon Key was the finish line for season 18 of the Amazing Race!}

Here is the original bridge coming over the island.

See the blue metal line on the right and in the center? That was the original width of the train track. Can you imagine riding a train across water on a track that narrow? The extra part on the left was added on later when the old bridge became a two lane highway.

I adored the yellow buildings. :)

The inside of one of the old bunkhouses.

The new bridge, on the left, and the old one, on the right. They don't actually meet, like they appear to.

This has been several things, including a swimming pool and a shark tank.

Here's what the island looked like when the railroad workers lived here. They made good wages, but the work was hard and dangerous. They were made to believe that it would be like working in a tropical paradise. That's what the island looks like now, but it sure didn't look like that then. :) No trees or anything!

The building that houses the museum:

They don't sell any food or anything on the island, so we bought a picnic lunch and ate at a picnic table. It was so beautiful, even though the wind was really crazy. This was our view from where we ate:

This is the ramp that leads from the old bridge (the section that's now a walking/biking path) down onto the island.

Coming up next: the rest of Day 6 and Day 7.

Previous posts: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Days 4 & 5 (Part 1), Day 5 (Part 2).

Until next time,

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