In this new series, we are highlighting various Keys and sharing some info on how these particular islands got their names and how they became significant in growth and development of the Florida Keys. With over 1,700 Keys and some with very interesting names, there is a rich and unique history behind each Key and we will aim to uncover some facts about each.
Ohio Key is also now known as Sunshine Key, after a trailer campground that takes up much of the island. Formerly Little Duck Key, that name is now used for a different island that is located closer to the Seven Mile Bridge. Part of the key is protected by the Ohio Key National Wildlife Refuge.
Bahia Honda Key:
Home to one of the Keys only natural white sand beaches, Bahia Honda Key is a popular tourist destination. Nearly the entire island comprises the 524 acre Bahia Honda State Park. In 1992 it was named the #1 white sand beach in the U.S. by “Dr. Beach” Stephen Leatherman. There is a 3.5 mile paved road through the park as well as a nature trail that provide access points to the beach for fishing, snorkeling, finding wildlife, picnicking and swimming. A part of the Great Florida Birding Trail, Bahia Honda is a popular destination for overnight campers with campsite rentals being very hard to reserve in the winter months. Tourists from near and far can enjoy sunny days on the beach or a night camping beneath the stars!
Scout Key was formerly known as West Summerland Key until very recently. The name changed to Scout Key in 2010 not only to eliminate confusion about the key’s location (10 miles east of Summerland Key) but also to reflect the adjoining camps on the key, Boy Scout Camp Sawyer and Girl Scout Camp Wesumkee. Each year Camp Wesumkee hosts amateur astronomers at a gathering known as the Winter Star Party. The foliage and structures on Scout Key suffered significant damage during Hurricane Irma in 2017 which changed the coastline and also require rebuilding of Camp Sawyer’s swim platform.
No Name Key:
No Name Key is home to just under 50 residences and plenty of Key deer. It is famous for being disconnected from the commercial power grid until as recently as 2013. Before access to county electricity, residents mostly used solar power or generators on the island. No Name Key has been featured in a handful of published novels and well-known No Name Pub, which has become a popular stop-over on the way to Key West, gets its name from the island.
Big Pine Key:
With close to 2,500 residences on the island, a little over 5,000 people call Big Pine Key home. The island boasts several bars, restaurants and stores and is also home to the National Key Deer Refuge. The majority of the Key Deer population is found on the island, and since the species is endangered there is a variety of signage, warnings, and protections in place for the deer that live on Big Pine Key. Also on Big Pine Key is the Blue Hole, the only freshwater lake in the Florida Keys. It was created by an old quarry used in the days of building the Flagler railroad and now the fresh water helps to sustain a variety of animal species in the area.
Stay tuned for History of the Florida Keys: Part 7 coming soon. If you have missed Part 1,2,3,4,5 or 6 visit our website archives at https://www.islamoradatimes.com/archive/