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Most People Don’t Know There’s A Ghost Town On This Deserted Island In Florida

In the Florida Keys, near Islamorada, there’s a little-known state park with a fascinating history.

The island once belonged to Jacob Housman, a wrecker who purchased a lot of property on the island in the early 1830s, built it up, and quickly became the community leader. Looking at it today, you would never guess that it was the first county seat of Miami-Dade County (when the Upper and Middle keys were temporarily part of this county, thanks to Housman).

The little island once had residences, a hotel, a store, and a post office. Now, all that remains of the community is a ghost town made up of the remnants of cisterns and crumbling foundations. Housman was known for some shady practices that drew anger from Key West wreckers and eventually led to the loss of his wrecking license. Fear spread through the Keys as the Second Seminole War began in 1835.

As trade agreements fell apart, Housman mortgaged Indian Key to Dr. Henry Perrine, who wanted to wait out the war on the small island until he could return to his land grant on the mainland. Unfortunately, an Indian raid on the island in 1840 left 13 people dead, including Dr. Perrine. Housman and most of the other 70 inhabitants escaped, but the Indians burned down all of Indian Key’s buildings.

The island declined into the late 1800s, until it eventually only had a single wrecker who called the island home. The Upper and Middle keys were returned to Monroe County, and Dade County’s county seat was moved to Miami in 1844.

Today, the island is home to Indian Key Historic State Park, and the visitors can learn about its history from the crumbling ruins and the gravesite of Jacob Housman.

Have you ever visited this island ghost town? Check out 8 Fascinating Florida Ghost Towns.

Victoria W
Victoria is a staff writer for OIYS.