While on a short vacation a few years ago in the Florida Keys I found myself thinking about the good old days of souvenir building manufacturing.
Almost every tourist stop in America had some kind of memento of the visit available at their gift shop. Florida had quite a few nice pieces such as the Bok Tower, the Citrus Tower, the St. Augustine Gate and Fort, Silver Springs boat, and the Stephen Foster Memorial. All of these were made of metal. The only souvenirs that I know of from the Keys are the Southernmost Point, Key West, and Faro Blanco lighthouses.
I eventually decided the Florida Keys deserved a metal souvenir monument. The story of the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 is one that is both amazing and tragic. It tells of one the most powerful Hurricanes to ever make landfall in the USA. On September 2, 1935 a Category 5 storm with winds over 185 mph hit the upper Keys at Islamorada. Until a few years back it held the record for the lowest barometric pressure ever recorded! The loss of life exceeded 400 and the Henry Flagler railroad (The 8th Wonder of the World in 1912) that connected Key West to Miami was damaged severely and never restored. 259 World War 1 veterans who were working on building the Overseas Highway were among the dead. The Florida Keys Memorial is located at mile marker 81.5 on highway U.S. 1 in Islamorada, Florida and was dedicated November 14, 1937.
Check out Jerry Wilkinson’s full story of the Memorial.
And the Wikipedia page for more details.
- The Beresford
- The Woolworth Building – A Brief History By Kylie Gray