Upper Matecumbe Key in Monroe County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
Florida East Coast Railroad Overseas Extension
“The Railroad That Went to the Sea”
Oil magnate Henry M. Flagler first visited Florida in 1878. Realizing Florida’s potential for growth, he developed railroads and hotels which transformed the eastern seaboard. The Florida East Coast Railroad reached Miami in 1896 and soon was completed to the Homestead area. Years of planning were devoted to determining the feasibility of extending the F. E. C. Railroad to Key West which was labelled “Flagler’s Folly.” Construction was begun in 1904 under the supervision of Joseph C. Meredith. After Meredith’s death in 1909, William J. Krome guided the project. Viaducts, trestles, and bridges were constructed under harrowing conditions. Thousands of workers battled against insects, hurricanes, and intense heat as well as food and water shortages. On January 21, 1912, the Overseas Extension of the Florida East Coast Railroad was competed. The next day, Henry Flagler’s special train arrived in Key West. Flagler died in 1913, but his Overseas Extension continued to carry visitors to Key West until 1935, when the Labor Day hurricane damaged the line beyond repair. A portion of the Overseas Extension near Tea Table Key was among the surviving remnants of this great engineering project which helped to open the Florida Keys to tourism.
Erected 1976 by Sponsored by Senator Richard
Location. 24° 53.396′ N, 80° 40.549′ W. Marker is in Upper Matecumbe Key, Florida, in Monroe County. Marker is on Overseas Highway (U.S. 1) 1.8 miles south of Old U.S. 1, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is located on Indian Key Fill, just north of the bridge across Indian Key Channel. Marker is in this post office area: Islamorada FL 33036, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Spanish Treasure Fleet of 1733 (within shouting distance of this marker); Rafters (within shouting distance of this marker); Juan Ponce de Leon (within shouting distance of this marker); Historic Plaque (approx. 0.3 miles away); Tea Table Key (approx. half a mile away); Triangle of History (approx. 2.2 miles away); The Florida Keys Memorial (approx. 3.1 miles away); Site of Camp Three (approx. 4.8 miles away).
Also see . . .
1. The FEC's Key West Extension.
The Florida East Coast's Key West Extension, or the Florida Overseas Railroad as it was officially known, became one of the railroad industry's most celebrated accomplishments even after it was destroyed by the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935. The extension operated for just over twenty years before it was heavily (Submitted on April 5, 2014, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
2. Railroad workers constructing the Florida East Coast Railway's overseas extension.
Work on the overseas extension began in 1905. It was operational from 1912 until the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935. Financially unable to rebuild, the Florida East Coast Railway sold the roadbed and remaining bridges to the State of Florida, which built the Overseas Highway to Key West, using much of the remaining railway infrastructure. The extension was later added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979 as Overseas Highway and Railway Bridges. (Submitted on April 5, 2014, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Categories. • Bridges & Viaducts • Industry & Commerce • Man-Made Features • Railroads & Streetcars •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on April 5, 2014, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 516 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on April 5, 2014, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.