Craig Key - Duck Key



Craig Key

Craig Key in the middle Keys is located on US Hwy. 1 at mile marker 72. Craig Key was originally named Camp Panama, and is not a natural island, it is a wide spot on the Overseas Railroad right-of-way. Originally a vacation spot and flag stop on the railroad, Roland W. Craig leased the island from the railroad in the early 1930s. In 1935 the island was named Craig, Florida. President Herbert Hoover sailed his yacht out of Craig at times in the 1930s. The island is most well known for being the landfall site of the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane. Captain Ivar Olsen, who had been taking refuge from the storm in his dry-docked boat near the island, recorded a barometer measurement of 26.35 inches of mercury (892 mbar), the lowest sea-level atmospheric pressure ever recorded on land. The town was a total loss, but was rebuilt, and prospered as a vacation spot after the storm.

Originally a single island, two more man-made Keys were added, one to the southwest in 1955, and one to the northeast some time later. The name of the town was officially changed to "Craig Key" in 1971.


Fiesta Key

Fiesta Key in the Middle Keys is located near US Hwy. 1 at mile marker 70. First recorded as Jew-Fish Kay (later Jewfish Key, then Jewfish Bush Key). Louie Turner homesteaded the island, on January 7, 1908 becoming the first recorder owner. For a period in the 1950s & 1960's, the key was owned by the Greyhound Bus Company. During that period it was named Tropical Key, then Greyhound Key. Kampgrounds of America (KOA) bought the island from the Greyhound Company in 1966, renaming it 'Fiesta Key'. The Cortex Resort Living arm of the Cortex Companies bought the 28-acre (110,000 m2) island in 2006 to build high-end vacation homes.


Long Key

Long Key in the Middle Keys in located on US Hwy. 1 at mile marker 71. It is the home of Long Key State Park, a favorite of campers and nature lovers despite the lack of a beach and the proximity of noisy U.S. Hwy. 1. The state park was dedicated on October 1, 1969. It is smaller and less developed than the neighboring incorporated village of Islamorada to the northeast and city of Marathon to the southwest. The city of Layton is located on Long Key.

Long Key was called Cayo Vivora (Rattlesnake Key) by early Spanish explorers, a reference to the shape of the island, which resembles a snake with its jaws open, rather than to any snakes on the island.

It was visited by C.W. Pierce in his boat, Bonton (1885). He stopped at the lower end of the key where there was a house with a cistern and replenished his water supply. This key was a depot site during the railroad years, and was also the site of the well known Long Key Fishing Camp.


City of Layton

The city of Layton is located on the island of Long Key. In the late 19th century, Long Key was used as a coconut plantation. By 1910, Layton was becoming famous as a fishing destination, thanks in part to promotion by sports writer Zane Grey. However, the developing tourist infrastructure on Long Key was largely destroyed by the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935.

After World War II, Mary and Del Layton, who ran a grocery business in Miami, bought 40 acres on Long Key and started developing the property as "Layton's Long Key Fishing Camp", which grew substantially over the succeeding years.

Layton was incorporated as a town on September 18, 1963. The land that would become Long Key State Park was acquired between 1961 and 1973.


Conch Key & Little Conch Key

Conch Key & Little Conch Key in the Middle Keys are located on US Hwy. 1 at mile marker 62. Conch Key is an island and unincorporated community in Monroe County. Little Conch Key is an island in Monroe County. Little Conch Key is also known as Walker's Island.


Duck Key

Duck Key in the Middle Keys is located on US Hwy 1 at mile marker 61. Duck Key was the site of a salt manufacturing operation in the 1820s & 1830s. Occupation of the island ceased after the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 and did not resume until the key was connected to the highway by a causeway in 1953. This island formerly saltworks but they were transferred latterly to Key West, owned by Mr. Howe, who is also possessor of this Key." Hawk's Cay Resort is currently located here, and the island is sometimes known by that name.