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Harriette’s – Upper Keys institution for 34 years

One word keeps coming up, over and over again, when people talk about Harriette’s Restaurant in Key Largo: Family. And it’s not just owner Harriette Mattson, whose breakfast-and-lunch restaurant at mile marker 95.7, celebrated 34 years on May 17. It’s the staff and the customers, too. Pat Baker, who has been at Harriette’s since the…

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Florida Keys Lighthouses Endangered Historical Resources

The 6 Florida Keys Lighthouses are among the 11 “most endangered” historic sites in the state this year, says a statewide preservation group. This week, the nonprofit Florida Trust for Historic Preservation, meeting for its annual conference in Tallahassee, released its list of 2016’s most threatened historic resources. The lighthouses are on the list. Here’s what…

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Conch Key & Little Conch Key History – 1st Documented in 1849

The first mention of Conch Key and its baby sister island to the southwest, Little Conch Key, can be dated back to the mid-19th century, according to local historian Jerry Wilkinson. The two islands were first documented in the 1849 memoir of F.W. Gerdes, “Reconnaissance of the Florida Reefs and All the Keys.” “The first…

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Florida Keys History – Northwest Channel Lighthouse

1855: Northwest Channel Lighthouse was first lighted. This lighthouse was located eight miles (13 km) from Key West, Florida, at the entrance to the northwest channel to the Key West harbor. The first light was a lightship put on station in 1838. It is not known if the lightship survived the Great Havana Hurricane of 1846, which destroyed…

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Middle Florida Keys Suggestions For Your Bucket List

The Middle Florida Keys are an often overlooked destination. Lying between the Upper Florida Keys where you will find the Diving & Fishing Capitals of Key Largo and Islamorada and the Lower Florida Keys with Big Pine Key’s Key Deer and world famous Key West, the Middle Florida Keys is sometimes referred to as the Heart…

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Indian Key – Who Hasn’t Dreamed of a Private Island

Sorry, this Florida Keys island, Indian Key, isn’t for sale. But you can visit and explore this historic site. Hours: The park is open from 8:00 a.m. until sundown, 365 days a year. Fees: Admission Fee:  $2.50 *per person. *Includes $.50 per person Monroe County Surcharge. Early Indian Key History Beginning in the 18th century, Bahamians and Cubans…

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Old Key West Lighthouse Gets New Coat of Paint And More

Key West lighthouse was decommissioned back in 1969. But it recently got a thorough restoration, from the railings around the top to the paint on the sides. From left, project manager Johnnie Yongue, architect David Salay and project manager Daniel Bensley check out the newly restored Key West Lighthouse, which recently re-opened to the public. CREDIT…

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Joshua Appelby: Another Case of a Dubious Florida Wrecker

At about the same time the dubious wrecker John Jacob Housman first made his way to the Florida Territory, another questionable captain was sailing this way, too. His name was Joshua Appelby, born Dec. 5, 1770 in Newport, Rhode Island. Like Captain Housman, he arrived in the Florida Territory circa 1822. As a point of comparison,…

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NOAA Researchers Dive Slave Ship “The Ivory Wreck”

BY JOSH GORE Free Press Staff A group of federal maritime archaeologists are trying to uncover more details of a sunken slave ship near Delta Shoals off Sombrero Reef. Locals name the area The Ivory Wreck, which is located a few hundred yards away from the lighthouse. The name stems from ivory tusks discovered…