Kayak Trip to Indian Key, FL

 

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Paddling to Indian Key Historic State Park was educational, relaxing and a nice workout.  It wasn’t the most calm or sunny day as we wanted it to be, but before we start counting down the weekends we have left in the keys we decided to go ahead and do it anyways. (Photo above was the nice spot we found off US 1 to start our exploring) It was a bit choppy getting out there, but it turned out to be a nice 3/4 of a mile paddle. We followed the “Kayak Landing” signs and noticed we weren’t the only crazy kayak’rs out there 🙂

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As we landed and go out of our kayaks we noticed the fee station sign and started walking towards the main entrance and dock.

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We enjoyed  a nice walk following the paths while reading the historic markers and learning a little more about Indian Key’s History.

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The island was briefly inhabited in the middle of the 19th century, but is now an uninhabited ghost town. (wikipedia)

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Theese signs made me chuckle… “Mystery Feature” ? 😀

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Throughout are walk we found the lookout tower, although I wished it was just a bit higher, it still gave a nice perspective of the size of the small island life, just trying to imagine what it was like back then.

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The island is pretty lush and we even ran into some of it’s wildlife.

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It was nice to be able to walk the trails and experience the Florida Keys Habitats a little bit closer and quieter.  To stand and just take in the simplistic beauty was worthwhile.

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A great day exploring, but time to start heading back.

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Can you see our car? we couldn’t either… somewhere in between those two bridges 🙂 what a prefect day!

After we came back home I had to look up some of the Indian Key History, I wanted to see proof that buildings once stood there, and how big or close to each other they were.. It was said that Indian Key was a “Wreckers paradise” when the wrecker business was booming… There was a hotel that had billiards and even a bowling alley… unbelievable!

The Island went through many phases of inhabitants, first the Calusa Indians, then the Spanish fleet that survived the ship wrecks in 1733, then later  in the 18th hundreds the Bahamians and Cubans used Indian Key as a base for fishing, turtling, logging and wrecking. Then In 1821, Florida was transferred from Spain to the United States, and in 1824, two Key West men, Joshua Appleby and a man named Snyder, sent an employee, Silas Fletcher, to open a store on Indian Key. The store was to serve wreckers, settlers and Indians in the upper Keys, and settlement of primarily Bahamian wreckers and turtlers grew up on the island. By 1829, the settlement was large enough to include a dozen women.

Jacob Houseman, a wrecker who was at odds with the established wreckers in Key West, moved to Indian Key in 1830 and began buying property on the island. He soon became the leader of the community and its chief landlord. (gravestone replica photo is shown above)

The Second Seminole War began late in 1835. After the New River Massacre in early 1836, all of the Keys were abandoned, except for Key West and Indian Key.

Early in the morning of August 7, 1840, a large party of Spanish-speaking Indians sneaked onto Indian Key. By chance, one man was up and raised the alarm after spotting the Indians. Most of the 50 to 70 people living on the island were able to escape, but thirteen were killed.

Indian Key continued to be occupied for a while after the Second Seminole War ended. The 1850 Census found a few families living there, while only two families were left on the island in 1860. In 1856, during the Third Seminole War, the U.S. Army stationed a few men on the island to protect the two remaining families from possible attack by Seminoles. The Keys lost most of their population again during the Civil War, but William Bethel, a wrecker, continued to live on the island from the 1850s until sometime after 1880

Here are some images I could find on the web. (sources: www.floridastateparks.orghttp://en.wikipedia.org)

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