The Florida Keys

Monday, 13 July 2015 - 03:50 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Miami / South Florida, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks, Environment
Reading Time:  8 minutes

Fort Jefferson - Dry Tortugas © U.S. National Park Service

Fort Jefferson – Dry Tortugas © U.S. National Park Service

The Florida Keys are an archipelago of 4500 islands in the southeast United States. They begin at the southeastern tip of the Florida peninsula, about 15 miles (24 km) south of Miami, and extend in a gentle arc south-southwest and then westward to Key West, the westernmost of the inhabited islands, and on to the uninhabited Dry Tortugas. The islands lie along the Florida Straits, dividing the Atlantic Ocean to the east from the Gulf of Mexico to the west, and defining one edge of Florida Bay. At the nearest point, the southern tip of Key West is just 90 miles (140 km) from Cuba. The Florida Keys are between about 23.5 and 25.5 degrees North latitude, in the subtropics. The climate of the Keys however, is defined as tropical according to Köppen climate classification. More than 95 percent of the land area lies in Monroe County, but a small portion extends northeast into Miami-Dade County, primarily in the city of Islandia, Florida. The total land area is 137.3 square miles (356 km2). As of the 2000 census the population was 79,535, with an average density of 579.27 per square mile (223.66 /km2), although much of the population is concentrated in a few areas of much higher density, such as the city of Key West, which has 32% of the entire population of the Keys. The city of Key West is the county seat of Monroe County. The county consists of a section on the mainland which is almost entirely in Everglades National Park, and the Keys islands from Key Largo to the Dry Tortugas.

One of the longest bridges when it was built, the Seven Mile Bridge connects Knight’s Key (part of the city of Marathon in the Middle Keys) to Little Duck Key in the Lower Keys. The piling-supported concrete bridge is 35,862 ft (10,931 m) or 6.79 miles (10.93 km) long. The current bridge bypasses Pigeon Key, a small island that housed workers building Henry Flagler’s Florida East Coast Railway in the 1900s, that the original Seven Mile Bridge crossed. A 2.2-mile (3.5 km) section of the old bridge remains for access to the island, although it was closed to vehicular traffic on March 4, 2008. The aging structure has been deemed unsafe by the Florida Department of Transportation. Costly repairs, estimated to be as much as $34 million, were expected to begin in July 2008. Monroe County was unable to secure a $17 million loan through the state infrastructure bank, delaying work for at least a year. On June 14, 2008, the old bridge section leading to Pigeon Key was closed to fishing as well. While still open to pedestrians — walking, biking and jogging — if the bridge were closed altogether, only a ferry subsidized by FDOT and managed by the county would transport visitors to the island. After the destruction of the Keys railway by the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935, the railroad bridges, including the Seven Mile Bridge, were converted to automobile roadways. U.S. 1 runs the length of the Keys and up the East Coast to Maine; the Keys section is also called the Overseas Highway.

In 1982, the United States Border Patrol had established a roadblock and inspection points on US Highway 1, stopping all northbound traffic returning to the mainland at Florida City, to search vehicles for illegal drugs and illegal immigrants. The Key West City Council repeatedly complained about the roadblocks, which were a major inconvenience for people traveling from Key West, and hurt the Keys’ important tourism industry. After various unsuccessful complaints and attempts to get a legal injunction against the blockade failed in federal court in Miami, on 23 April 1982 Key West mayor Dennis Wardlow and the city council declared the independence of the city of Key West, calling it the Conch Republic. After one minute of secession, he (as “Prime Minister”) surrendered to an officer of the Key West Naval Air Station (NAS), and requested one billion ($1,000,000,000) dollars in “foreign aid”. The stunt succeeded in generating great publicity for the Keys’ plight, and the inspection station roadblock was removed. It also provided a new source of revenue for the Keys, and the Conch Republic has participated in later protests. Read more on Wikipedia Conch Republic.

Windley Key sign © JKBrooks85 View from Mallory Square, Key West © Deror avi US1 ends in Key West © Daniel Schwen Sunset Key Largo © Mark Winograd Sunset Key © Marc Averette Summerland Key © Marc Averette Southernmost point of continental USA in Key West © Stefan Kokemüller Sloppy Joe's Bar © Marc Averette Seven Miles Bridge © Matrek Pigeon Key © Marc Averette Overseas Railroad - Bahia Honda Key © Mwanner Ohio Key © Marc Averette Monroe County Courthouse © Elmschrat Lower Sugarloaf Key lodge © Marc Averette Little Torch Key © Darwininan Layton © Hochstetler51 Key West Museum of Art and History © UpstateNYer Key Largo Harbor © Elmschrat Key West © Tore Sætre Key West sunset © Soeren Rothe Key West - Street life © Kolossos Key West Lighthouse © milan.boers Key West International Airport © ksr8s Key West Harbor © Kolossos Key West, Duval Street © Marc Averette Key Haven © Marc Averette Islamorada © Piehoney Hemingway House, Key West © Andreas Lamecker Flag of the Conch Republic © Jmckean © US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration © US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Dolphins playing off of Bahia Honda © Mwanner Cheeca Lodge Pier Islamorada © Ted Van Pelt Causeway and bridge southwest of Lower Matecumbe Key © Dominika Durtan Boca Chita Key Lighthouse © MDuchek Blue Hole on Big Pine Key, the only fresh water lake © Marc Averette Biscayne Bay © key-biscayne.com Beach Resort Marathon © Edserrano Ballast Key © Joeschmitty Anne's Beach Wildlife © Ved Ivanov Wisteria Island © Marc Averette Fort Jefferson - Dry Tortugas © U.S. National Park Service
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Southernmost point of continental USA in Key West © Stefan Kokemüller

Find several further videos on KeysTV. To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facepage pages/Twitter accounts. Read more on Florida Keys, Florida Keys Webcams, Keys History and Wikipedia Florida Keys. Learn more about the use of photos.




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