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Duck Key in the Florida Keys

An Information Guide to Duck Key in the Florida Keys


 

 

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DUCK KEY HISTORY

HISTORY
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INDIANS AND
SPANISH

 
HISTORIC
NOTES ON
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NAMING OF
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MECCA


HURRICANE
DONNA


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The history index to the left has links to history information about Duck Key.

Additional links are provided of a non-historic nature - one of which takes the viewer to the Main Index for the Duck Key Community

 History of Duck Key

 

The introduction to this Duck Key website explains that its purpose is to serve as a sightseer's guide, and as a resource to visitors and residents of the island community.

This particular section of the Duck Key community website presents the history of Duck Key insofar as it can be determined by available records. By presenting known facts and some speculation, and revealing historic details and curiousities the reader may be unfamilar with, it is hoped the reader will not only gain a general sense of the island's history, but a greater appreciation of Duck Key .

Much of the information centers around a man named Bryan W. Newkirk, the first developer of Duck Key. Newkirk knew exactly what he wanted. He envisioned an island resort community which would become the "Mecca of the America". An island which would be shared between a luxury resort and a secluded residential community.

Duck Key was an uninhabited island prior to the 1950s. In earlier years there was a salt mining operation in the lowlands area. When Newkirk bought Duck Key it was " a jumble of swamp and mangrove tree." He paid $47,000 for the island and proceeded to spend millions developing it. In the process 2.5 billion of yards of fill was pumped onto the site, 4 miles of canal constructed and the smaller residential islands within the island Duck Key created.

In 1952 a wooden bridge connected Duck Key to the mainland, and the major dredging and filling began.



This old black and white aerial photo shows the island during the time of canal construction. This aerial photo shows the white coral mined from the canals as the project is under way in 1953. Canals are visible; white areas represent places with fill and some dark areas indicate original vegetation. The Marina breakwater has not been built nor has the Indies Inn, the Administration Building or any island homes. There are no houses visible at this time. Photo contributed by Duck Key resident, Arlo Shay


 A postcard image of the Indies Inn from the 1960s is pictured above. The Golf Course is visible and the Indies Inn prior to expansion. The Hawk's Cay Marina was located to the left of the resort in the Yacht Basin also known as "Lake Lucille". Later a protected breakwater would be extended passed the resort and a new Marina constructed closer to the Duck Key Drive causeway entrance. Click on the image for a larger view.

 


MORE OLD POSTCARD IMAGES

 

 

 

Another postcard image below from the 1960s shows the Indies Inn Garden located behind the Administration Building.
 

 

This postcard from the 60s shows Miss Duck Key II cruising down the canal.

 

Another image of an Indies Inn postcard with old and new roads visible on Yacht Club. Click on this image for a larger view and look for the signs "Indies" and "Inn" above and below the red roof. The letter "I" before the two n's is partially obscoured.
 

 

Below is an 1960s image of a postcard of Indies Inn taken at sunset. The Marina and dolphin pool have not been built.

 

Another aerial postcard photo from the same period shopwing Duck Key with Conch Key in the distance. The Indies Inn and golf course are visible. In the V-shaped area is the Administration Building and to the right is employee housing.

 



Recent Aerial Photo with reflection of Hawk's Cay Marina breakwater and salt water lagoon on plane's wing.

Another aerial photo of Hawk's Cay with white roofs of Vacation Villas adjacent to boat basin, canal and marina docks.  

 

For other photos of Duck Key go to additional images.

Information links with details about Newkirk legacy are provided in the index to the left. Links to information from earlier periods of history to the present are also provided. You'll find information about Indian inhabitants in the Keys, Spanish exploration and influences, early settlers, salt pond harvesting, Spanish treasure found, Zane Grey and the Long Key Fishing Club, Hurricane Donna, and President Truman's stay on Duck Key.

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386 East Seaview Drive
Duck Key, Florida 33050
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