by Brad Bertelli and Jerry Wilkinson
Key Largo is a subtropical escape. The island’s history has been shaped by coral reefs as well as wreckers, farmers, and fishermen. Key Largo was homesteaded by intrepid families who braved life before the modern conveniences of running water, air-conditioning, and mosquito control were introduced. Inevitably, big changes were coming. Henry Flagler’s Key West Extension changed the Florida Keys; hurricanes, too, have altered life here, especially the Great Labor Day Hurricane of 1935, the strongest storm ever recorded in the United States. Since then, the island has been immortalized in movie and song, but modern Key Largo has been defined by fishing and diving, which led to the development of the hospitality industry that dominates today. This book reveals Key Largo’s other facets: the coral castle, underwater park, pineapple farmers, and artists that carved their history onto this island.