Front Cover
 The geography of the keys
 Cultivation of limestone soils
 Home construction on the keys
 List of fruits and other trees...
 Historical items early Indian inhabitants...
 Early english settlers on...
 Key place-names
 Florida's coral isles
 Back Cover

Group Title: Bulletin New Series
Title: Floridan keys
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00014606/00001
 Material Information
Title: Floridan keys with special reference to soil productivity
Series Title: Bulletin New Series
Physical Description: 55 p. : ill., maps ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Gifford, John C ( John Clayton ), 1870-1949
Florida -- Dept. of Agriculture
Publisher: Department of Agriculture
Place of Publication: Tallahassee Fla
Publication Date: 1940
Subject: Soils -- Florida -- Florida Keys   ( lcsh )
Soil productivity -- Florida -- Florida Keys   ( lcsh )
House construction -- Florida -- Florida Keys   ( lcsh )
Florida Keys (Fla.)   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Statement of Responsibility: by John C. Gifford.
General Note: Title from cover.
General Note: "June, 1940."
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00014606
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: ltqf - AAA7081
ltuf - AKD9622
oclc - 27972553
alephbibnum - 001962945

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page 1
        Page 2
    The geography of the keys
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
    Cultivation of limestone soils
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
    Home construction on the keys
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
    List of fruits and other trees that have been or can be grown on the keys in shelter-belt areas
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
    Historical items early Indian inhabitants of the keys
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
    Early english settlers on the keys
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
    Key place-names
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
    Florida's coral isles
        Page 55
    Back Cover
        Page 56
Full Text

New Series

Floridan Keys


Soil Productivity





JUN 2 0 1968

S .F.A.S. Univ. of Florida


NATHAN MAYO, Commiissioner
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No. 77

JUNE, 1940
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LOCATION.-The Florida Keys are the southernmost part of
the State, extending in a curved line southwestward from Miami
Beach to, and including, the Dry Tortugas, which are two hundred
and ninety miles from Miami, seventy miles west of Key West,
one hundred miles north of Cuba and three hundred miles north-
east of Yucatan.
These keys may be divided into two groups, the UPPER and
LOWER Keys. The keys north of Bahia Honda consist of coral-
reef limestone. The lower keys, that is, the archipelago
around Key West, consist of oolite limestone, the same as the
mainland. One is sometimes called the Key Largo Limestone,
the other Miami Oolite or Limestone. The oolite or eggstone is
white and soft, consisting of many little round balls of lime
cemented together. The coral-reef limestone is hard, darker in
color, varied in grain, consisting of coral masses filled in be-
tween with other kinds of lime deposits. The oolite was blown
or washed in. The Key Largo Coral Limestone was no doubt
a reef, upheaved bodily.
AREA.-It is difficult to determine the area of so. many little
islands, some very low and irregular in shape. The largest is Key
Largo, thirty miles long, averaging hardly more than a mile in
width. About thirty keys are inhabitable. The sum total of what
might be called land probably does not exceed fifty square miles.
ELEVATION.-The bulk of these islands is hardly more than
six feet above the level of the sea. There are one or two places
which may reach the height of twenty-five feet.
RAINFALL.-Rainfall is usually adequate at all times of
the year. There are about fifty inches in the Biscayne Bay Region.
It decreases as you move westward. Dry Tortugas is probably
the driest spot in the State of Florida. Both drought and coolness
serve as checks in vegetative growth. If either comes at the prop-
er time it produces plentiful bloom, followed by an abundance





c 'uJ

CLIMATES-(After Kippen and Thornwaite)


A-128 + Wet. B-64 to 127 Humid. C-32 to 63 Subhumid. D-16 to 31
Semi-arid. E-0 to 15 Arid. r-Rainfall Adequate at all Seasons. d-Rainfall
Deficient in all Seasons. S-Rainfall Deficient in Summer. W-Rainfall Deficient
in Winter.

A'--128 + Tropical. B'-64 to 127 Mesothermal. C'-32 to 63 Microthermal.
D'-16 to 31 Taiga. E'-- to 15 Tundra. F'-O Perpetual Frost.

The shaded sections, marked BA'r, are the climatic patches to which South
Florida belongs, being humid (B), tropical (A), with rainfall adequate at all
seasons (r), the same as like pictures in the West Indies, Central and South America.

of fruit. Some trees bloom and fruit continuously, others may
have two crops a year.
DEW.-There is plenty of dew which is a small but constant
and important source of moisture in tropical countries.
HURRICANES.-Once in about ten years there is a hurricane.
If houses are properly built, and shelter trees preserved, the
damage is never as great as represented.
TEMPERATURE.-There have been no killing frosts on the
keys. It is never excessively hot. It is acknowledged by all who
know the facts that there is probably no better climate in this
WATER SUPPLY.-Water from the ground is brackish. If
the well is very shallow the surface water will serve to water
plants. On some keys, such as Big Pine, the well water is fairly
fresh. Many old wells have been abandoned because of the
danger of contamination from cesspools.
MARKETS.-The markets for key products are good, both
in Miami and Key West. There is a constant demand for limes,
the premier key product, throughout the whole United States at
all seasons of the year. The local market is good, especially in
TRANSPORTATION.-A highway runs down the islands
from Largo to Key West. It is built on the road bed of the old
East Coast Railroad. Since the islands are narrow there are few
acres not in close communication by truck with the rest of the
world. There are also an inner and outer channel for boats.
HAMMOCKS.-This is the local name for the jungle con-
sisting of several tropical hardwoods.
PINEWOODS.-On the Lower Keys, there are pine trees of
the same kind as on the mainland, also hammock growth.
SWAMPS.-The swamps are salt water species such as the
Red Mangrove, Black Mangrove, and Buttonwood. They form
an excellent shore protection in times of storm.
INDUSTRIES.-The main occupation of the people in ad-
dition to an occasional wreck, has always been fishing, including,
sponging, cropping, fruit growing. On Windly's Island the coral

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of the best key land.
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limestone is quarried and shipped away for construction pur-
poses. It is a very beautiful building stone and has been in great
demand for the more expensive buildings.
SETTLEMENTS.-There are several little settlements and
several famous fishing camps and clubs. Key West was at one
time the center of this whole region. With the construction of
the highway and railroad the center of activity shifted to Miami.
The government is now engaged in converting it into a tourist
resort. Many people think that the tourist business is not in
itself sufficient to support a very large population, since it is
confined to a short season, varies from year to year, and is not
very profitable in places which do not raise their own foodstuffs
at least sufficient for local consumption throughout the year.
The bulk of food products except seafoods are shipped in at all
seasons of the year, and there should be a strong effort to raise
on the nearby keys as much as possible for home consumption,
especially tropical fruits and winter vegetables, and a strong ef-
fort to protect valuable native vegetation, and plant hardy trees
for shelter in times of storm. There is opportunity for a lot of
landscaping with native trees along the overseas highway.
Quaries yielding rock for road construction should be dug by
the sea to form fine swimming pools and not left as holes without
outlets by the wayside to breed mosquitoes.
The Marquesas Keys on the reef west of Key West consist
of several little low islands surrounding a lagoon. It resembles
an atoll. A large number of these tropical limestone islands are
hollow in the middle, sometimes with salt ponds. Salt was once
manufactured on the Lower Keys.
The Dry Tortugas is the end, with the famous old Fort Jeffer-
son, a well-made structure constructed of millions of hand-made
Another island is called Bird Key, where thousands of sooty
and noddy terns come many miles to nest. This is now a monu-
ment under the control of the National Park Service.
Biscayne Key contains thirty-five thousand bearing coco-
palms, the largest privately owned cocal that I know of. It is
owned by the Matheson family.
Cocoloba Club, located on Adams Key, consists of notable

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*Deep Lake

From "Florida Bird Life," by A. H. Howell, Showing the Tropical Zone and
Southern Part of the Lower Austral
The shaded area is that part of the Antillean Region of the Tropical
Zone in Florida inhabited by tropical birds


people from many parts of this country. This region, because of
its fine fishing, has often been referred to as the playground of
presidents. There are several other famous clubs on these keys
and colonies of campers are on the increase. Many people go
to the Matecumbes in the summer time for the bathing, fishing
and seashore recreation. The Matecumbe sheep-wool sponge
has long been famous and every effort should be made to encour-
age its growth as well as the growth of many other sea products,
such as crawfish, clams and conchs. By the large number of
oyster shells of large size scattered over the land there must
have been plenty of oysters not very far away in times past.
SEA GARDENS.-Sea gardens are plentiful on these coral
reefs and are a great attraction because of their beauty, clearness
of the water and brilliance of coloring.
PLANTING TIME.-There is no special planting time on the
keys for trees. The chances of success are of course much better
during the rainy season and during cool weather. At other times
shade and watering are necessary. Winter vegetables are planted
in the fall as soon as the danger of heavy winds and rains is over.
Tomatoes and other fresh vegetables are in great demand around
the holidays. Tomatoes are often followed by banana-melons
which sell readily in local markets, at ten cents per pound. There
seems to be no special season for okra, sweet-potatoes, pumpkins
and other truck for home use.
FUEL.-On the main highway bisecting these keys, there are
many service stations furnishing gasoline and kerosene. The
fuel best liked by the natives for cooking is charcoal or button-
wood. There is a plentiful supply of fuel-wood of various kinds,
but button-wood is one of the world's best fuels. It burns with a
hot fire like charcoal with little smoke. It has been used on fish-
ing and sponging boats for many years.
SAND-FLIES AND MOSQUITOES.-In addition to good
nets,spray-guns and fly-dopes are necessary. The smoke of the
black-mangrove wood is often used. While constructing the
Florida East Coast Railroad in the summer time the workmen
labored in the smoke of black-mangrove wood. Much pyrethrum
powder is used in the summer and it is quite likely that the bark
of the Jamaica dogwood or the seeds of the soap-berry might be


valuable for the same purpose, since both are used to stupefy
Owing to their location along the edge of the Gulf Stream much
drift material lands on these keys from the prevailing east and
south winds.
BEACHES.-Much of the shore is very rocky or swampy.
Here and there are small sandy beaches.
TIDES.-On the east side the tide is only about eighteen
inches or two feet; on the Gulf it is more-in some places twice
as much. The water is deep on the south edge of this great barrier
reef, containing live coral, and shallow on the Gulf side so that
the water rushes back and forth through these cuts with great
speed. In times of storm the whole region is churned into foam,
but owing to many reefs and shoals it never does the damage one
might expect if the water has plenty of room to spread and is not
piled up in pockets or narrow bays by the wind. The storm dam-
age is not noticeably greater than on the mainland.
SOILS.-Besides the rock-land, kitchen-midden and leaf-mold
land there are some patches of marl or salina land, some patches
of sand along the shore and some patches of black muck, but the
richest land is reddish in color in pot-holes in the rock here and
there. These are seldom over a hundred square feet in area but
are very fertile and excellent for small nurseries.
HOT HOUSE CONDITIONS.-If the rocky soil is covered
with a thin layer of dirt, and if it is covered with a strong,
properly constructed lattice one could have hothouse conditions
throughout the year and produce high grade fruits and vegetables
regardless of the weather. Lack of an abundance of fresh water
at all times for watering plants has always been a drawback.
WRECKING.-The early settlers depended upon wrecking,
which because of a lack of good lighthouses was at one time
profitable. With sponging, fishing and cropping, especially of
tomatoes, banana-melons, limes and sapodillas they had a very
comfortable living. If agriculture and aquiculture are properly
revived and fostered the profits from a growing tourist trade
may more than compensate for a lack of wrecking.


CONCHS AND CRACKERS.-There were the old time
Conchs who loved the sea and what the sea brought. They were
boatmen. The Crackers were inland forest people with their
cattle and carts. They were of the same old English stock and
met by different roads in south Florida. One came over-land
southward; the other came by boat via the Bahamas. The Conch
had tropical ideas of plant culture; the Cracker was filled with
northern notions. The Cracker liked his cow-peas and collards,
mustard greens and white bacon; the Conch liked his sea-food
and pigeon-peas, also his "sours and dillies," the common name
for limes and sapodillas.

Probably five per cent of the earth's crust consists of lime-
stone in some form or other. Some of the richest soils in the
world are disintegrated limestones. Land is constantly forming,
through the activities of coral, seaweeds and the shells of many
mollusks. The fruits of limestone soils produce big-boned
people with good teeth. Some of the greatest civilizations of
the world have developed in rocky limestone regions.
It is difficult to say just what constitutes soil, but from the
forester's standpoint it is any kind of a substance which will
support trees or into which the roots of trees can penetrate. The
fertility of a lime soil, no matter how rocky, is measured by the
amount of leaf mold which covers it. Shells, coral and seaweed
are ground into powder on the shore by the great ocean mill. On
some shores you can hear the rattle of the shells with every in-
coming wave. When the tide falls and the beach dries this lime-
stone sand is blown inland in the form of spin-drift. Dunes are
formed along the shore, the height depending upon the force of
the wind. When exposed to the air the dunes soon harden into
rock. Vegetation starts and the limestone is dissolved by the
acids resulting from disintegrating leaves, and in solution the
lime washes back into the sea. Sometimes the water heavily
charged with lime evaporates so that the carbonate of lime is
deposited in a thin layer which is hard and glassy, causing the
surface to remain bare for a considerable time until vegetation
forms again to dissolve it.

_^ -

--^ _- ii .-

The Author's Plantation on Elliott's Key

-----1- IK

- -- -- --- ---


Sometimes in depressions in lime rock the decomposing debris
accumulates. This gradually eats away the rock so that potholes
or rockholes are formed. Sometimes it is all dissolved except
some harder portions which may stick up like sabres which in
many places are called dog-tooth rocks. In time these potholes
become lime-sinks. In time they may reach the level of the
water-table. These are called banana-holes because of the rich
moist soil at the bottom in which bananas flourish. In the
Bahamas a banana root is lowered in a basket of dirt. It soon
sprouts and shoots upward to the light. In some places flowing
water underground containing carbonic acid gas dissolves this
rock to form great holes or caves. In short, there are holes, caves,
underground rivers and sinkholes of various kinds in limestone
countries. In digging canals we should be very careful not to
interfere with these underground water supplies. We may not
only cut off the flow of fresh water but let in salt water from the
sea. When the flow of fresh water stops the sea water backs in
to take its place.
The carbonate of lime is being constantly formed by the forces
of nature and is being constantly dissolved by organic acids. The
potholes containing some soil, decayed vegetation and the cast-
ings of various creatures are rich in plant food. The soil is often
colored red with iron which is deposited from the sea by the
activities of various organisms.
A deep red soil resulting from the disintegration of coral
rock is one of our richest soils and unless exhausted by years of
cropping in tobacco or sugar cane, produces the very best quality
of fruits, such as limes, sapodillas, pineapples, avocadoes, bread-
fruit, coconuts and many other valuable tropical tree products.
Marl is a finely divided compound of lime which is deposited
in flooded regions when the water through evaporation or by
losing its carbonic-acid-gas is no longer able to hold so much
carbonate-of-lime in solution. This is deposited on every leaf and
twig when Everglade water evaporates in the dry season of the
year. A fine white marl is also deposited from ocean water.
It is almost snow white and hardens into rock when exposed
to the air. It resembles putty, in fact might be used for putty
if mixed with oil. It can be pressed into blocks and will solidify
without the use of cement. There are constant chemical activities
in a limestone country.


In case the lime-rock is covered with leaf-mold and other
vegetation, and fire occurs, the lime-rock is converted into quick-
lime. It becomes a white powder and slakes as soon as it rains.
The rain and dew dissolve it, but it is soon deposited again in
the form of carbonate-of-lime, which becomes hard and glassy
and barren on the surface. There is nothing more destructive to
limerock soils than fire. It not only burns the humus on the sur-
face and kills all living creatures of value to growth but it destroys
the rock itself, causing it to become hard and glassy on the sur-
face. When the bush is cut the slash should be spread evenly
over the land and flashed when the soil is wet. A fine quality
of pineapples can be produced on land thus lightly flashed. Hot
fires in dry times are fatally destructive to the soil and what
covers it.
The rock is usually soft underneath but because of the hard
surface there are pockets that hold water and breed mosquitoes.
This apparently barren glassy surface can be softened and dis-
solved again by the application of humus such as rotten seaweed
or leafmold. Sweet potatoes planted in this seaweed grow and
yield potatoes on top of the rock.
There are a lot of trees which cannot endure too much alkalin-
ity. If there is sufficient leafmold they will grow because of the
acidity in rotting vegetation. It is not so much that the trees
require acidity as it is that certain fungi favorable to the growth
of certain trees live only under slightly acid conditions. When
you meet with hard, bare limestone rock the first impulse is to
grind it into soil with heavy machines. This is not only expensive
but of doubtful value. The land is packed by heavy machines
and the finer particles of the surface are soon washed down into
the crevices of the rock. A course gravel is left upon the surface.
Growing things secrete acids on their smallest rootlets so that
they can eat their own way into limestone in case it is porous.
One often finds root-cores. They are out of holes produced by
tree roots. After the roots decay the hole fills again with lime.
The roots of native rubbers force and dissolve their way through
the crevices of rock. Without the softening, dissolving effects of
decomposing vegetation the rock becomes hard and solid.
The blasting of holes to have trees in rows is also unnecessary
and expensive. Unless the holes are very big they are like
flower-pots. The sides are indurated by the expanding dynamite.


It pulverizes the rock which soon again solidifies. The whole
area should be blasted or not at all. The tree may grow circular
roots and if the hole is small commit suicide by choking itself
to death. There is really nothing gained by having trees in
exact rows in a lime-rock country. This orchard form is a northern
development. The solitary tree is exposed to the hot sun and
strong winds sweep down the rows. This is done to increase the
surface exposed to the sunshine in the north and to expedite
cultivation, but there is no reason for cultivation of a rocky lime
soil which may be already too porous and too rough for any
kind of cultivation except weed-cutting. A good way to plant
these rocky soils is to set the little trees in the natural pot-holes
in patches. In the case of lime trees only space enough is needed
in between to permit of picking. Shelter trees which may be on
rock-land between the pot-holes should be left to yield humus
and afford shelter against sun and wind, and to furnish a home
for birds and other useful creatures. If the native trees need
to be removed, saw or cut them off even with the ground. The
stump will in time rot and a good hole will be ready-formed for
a new root. If trees are planted in patches their shade and the
litter they drop will soon spread and they will be healthier, al-
though it is always best to cut out the creepers and weeds. The
whole area in time, irrespective of rocks, will become covered
with vegetation. The wild limestone rock soils of the keys cannot
be treated as other soils. A place which on the surface may
resemble a pile of cinders may prove to be very fruitful if proper-
ly handled. The land must be kept covered with the help of
native forerunners. Persons accustomed to plowing mellow soils
are completely abashed at the rough rocky appearance of many
of these lands. Some of the rockiest of these have supported
dense forests of mahogany, tamarind and Jamaica-dogwood and
are fertile only when properly handled. Trees gain a foothold
and find plenty of nourishment in the crevices of the rock. Many
little lime trees have been set in holes in the porous rock dug with
a crowbar.
If covered with a light coating of soil even the rockiest of it
responds with fruits of superlative quality. If soil is available
it is profitable to spread it over the rocks. The natives of the
South Seas have done this for ages. Here and there are kitchen-
middens of the Indians, consisting of dirt which they hauled from


The Home of an Old Settler on Matecumbe Key

The "Seven Mile Bridge"-a part of the engineering wonder of
the Overseas Highway stretching from the Mainland
over keys and ocean to Key West.


the bay bottom mixed with broken pots, bones and other refuse.
On these middens tomatoes and banana-melons are grown. Trees
grow close to the sea-shore in the tropics. The Indians planted
cotton and cacti of various kinds.
The cash value of these lands is a question. They sold for
more a quarter a century ago than at the present time. The area
is limited and if the Everglades National Park consumes the
bulk of it there will be little good land left for settlement. The
narrow islands are bisected by a highway which renders almost
every acre easily accessible. The land which has not been robbed
of its trees and fertility is worth several times the bare rocky
areas. Some of it is hardly worth more than ten dollars
an acre. Other areas are worth fifty dollars an acre although
land with water frontage is worth much more. The first price
of the land is not so importnat as the knowledge and industry
of the cultivator. Land fronting on the sea, easily accessible, in
a mild, healthful climate, capable of producing choice fruits and
vegetables in midwinter is valuable even if it is rocky, infested
at times with mosquitoes and shy at times of fresh water. They
are stepping stones to the sea and what the sea brings.
Foodbearing trees can be ornamental and protective at the
same time, and it must not be forgotten that the tropics is a tree
country rather than a country of annuals. We must not forget
that limestone lands demand a covering of vegetation, yielding
a constant supply of rich litter. Once in about every ten years
in hurricane season the low places are flooded with salt water
and banked high with seaweed. This rots and adds to the fertility.
Years ago there was dense forest in which many sea birds roosted.
In many places the land was covered with guano.
The bare rock gets hot in the summer sun and the tender roots
of fruit trees are cooked. This can often be avoided by piling
rocks around the roots of the tree to a height of three or four feet.
It helps to hold the tree in place in times of storm.
Horticulture on the keys is different from elsewhere, although
there are many thousands of acres of such lands unused through-
out the West Indies. Some limestone islands are among the
densest inhabited places on earth, while other lie dormant and
wild. Life is comfortable throughout the year in the trade-wind
areas. Many valuable trees such as the cocopalm prefer an
alkaline soil. One must forget his northern notions and adapt


himself to conditions such as exist nowhere else in our country.
There is an old time system of culture which has its virtues
and which might still be practiced with profit with modifications
in regions where jungle land is still plentiful. Cut the bush on
areas of about five acres in extent. Utilize the logs if the wood
is of good quality, or convert it into charcoal which is the favorite
fuel of many tropical peoples. Spread the slash evenly over the
land. When the ground is moist flash it with fire. Plant therein
such crops as corn, pumpkins, melons, tobacco, yucca, pigeon
peas or any other desirable crop. In the course of time abandon
this patch and let it come back to desirable jungle trees. See to
it that it is seeded to the proper kind of trees. The seeds of good
kinds can be dibbled in at slight expense. Then select a fresh
patch of five acres in some other section and repeat the perfor-
mance throughout the jungle. In this way forestry and agri-
culture can be easily and profitably combined. This is a time-
honored custom in some sections and if the population is not
too dense and the system is worked with care a crop year after
year is usually assured. This is separate of course from the home
tree garden where food trees of several kinds are usually densely
huddled around the house. Closely planted back yard trees are
usually the most prolific in all tropical countries. Some trees,
like the chocolate, seem to enjoy the social life of the home.


These remarks have nothing to do with a city or suburban
home, nothing to do with the trend of fashion in architecture,
nothing to do with anything about the house except those things
necessary to fit it to the needs of a tropical environment, nothing
to do with its shape or division into rooms or the kind of finish.
I shall refer only to those things necessary for comfort in a
tropical country home and the use of materials near at hand
which the man of small means can use to advantage. Every man
is interested in a house that will have as much room as possible,
also safety, comfort and durability with the very least outlay of
money for construction and upkeep.
The proportions should be right and the materials of construc-
tion should be good. The house should be tied to the ground,
and the place planted in such a way that it becomes an insepar-
able and natural part of the picture.
As Professor Pitkin says, "You alone can make your home.
Not with sticks and stones. Not with shower-baths and spiral
staircases. Oh, no! If ever you have a home you make it out of
yourself. You are at home only when you are yourself. You
are your own building material. And your house is your castle,
but your home is yourself in architecture. Some people have
one-room personalities. Others have parlor-bedroom and bath
souls. Some are ground-floor characters, and others have pent-
house personalities. Some are by nature homeless; they
merely reside somewhere or else they keep moving. A home
is more than a residence. Home is wherever you can comfortably
be yourself." You cannot comfortably be yourself if you are in-
vaded by insects, by cold in winter, by heat in summer, and at
times in danger of a flood of water or of flying debris in times
of storm.
Cellars to keep things cool, garrets to keep things warm and
dry, and steep roofs to shed ice and snow are out of place in
the tropics. The farther you dig down in the earth the hotter
it gets. There is, in consequence, absolutely no advantage in
cellars. Four or five feet below the surface you encounter
dampness in many places. Comfort is mainly due to shade and
ventilation. After living in all kinds of houses in half a dozen

A Two-Story Rock House Enclosed by a Rock Wall

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An Old Church on the Keys


tropical countries I am positively convinced that the living
quarters should be on stone pillars elevated eight or nine feet
above the ground. In a country which is perfectly flat a small
elevation is a great relief. It adds to your feeling of privacy and
security. There are several reasons for this, such as better ventila-
tion, better view, and far less danger from insects of various
kinds. When the place is surrounded by shubbery there is less
dampness and better air just a few feet above the moist surface
of a tropical soil. The wood in the floor above the ground is in
less danger of white-ant invasion, is open for easy inspection at
all times, and can be kept coated with preservatives with less
trouble. A wood floor is preferable. It gives a little when you
walk and is easier on the feet. Wood is also apt to be drier, warm
to the touch-in fact, closer to man and probably healthier than
stone or metal, but it does increase the fire-hazard. The space
underneath the living quarters is valuable for a garage, a cistern,
workshop or washroom of any kind.
A house should be firmly set on the rock and tied to it if pos-
sible. Many thousands of miles of land are the product of wind
and wave, and much that the winds and waves build, winds and
waves can move away. There should be a fireplace in the center
of the house, even in the tropics, to afford ventilation and to
anchor the whole structure in case of storm. It is weight that
holds it down. If flimsily constructed it blows to pieces, but if
too light, even though well constructed the whole thing may blow
away. Very tight structures are often completely lifted off their
The next most important thing is the shape and character of
the roof. Many people forget that although the weather may be
ideal for eleven months of the year it is necessary to prepare for
those extraordinary factors which may skip ten years at a time,
but which may come unexpectedly in the fall of the year. There is
always the possibility of a wind of hurricane fury, and a torren-
tial downpour of rain in almost all tropical countries close to the
sea-shore. It is therefore these extraordinary factors which
must be considered to produce comfort and safety, regardless of
fire or windstorm insurance. The great destruction of tropical
hurricanes is usually due to the disregard of this fact. The main
point, therefore, is to build as strong and safe as possible with-
in reasonable limits, rather than to build as cheap as possible


with appearances mainly in mind. In my opinion there is nothing
more important than the shape and kind of roof. There seems
to be something especially penetrating and destructive in tropi-
cal storm waters. In many countries, for lack of better materials,
roofs are constructed of palm-thatch. Although picturesque
these are not only scattered by a tropical storm but form an
ideal home for rats, scorpions, birds and even snakes. The roof
should be firmly fastened to the rest of the house. It should
have a low pitch, and should slope in four directions from the
chimney in the center. There should be very narrow eaves, and
when the wind hits it, should be deflected upward and slide over
without meeting with more obstructions than are absolutely
necessary. Auomobiles have stream-lines to deflect the wind.
The same applies to snow-sheds and shelterbelts, and should
apply as well to the place in which you and your family are to
seek shelter. The natives of southern Italy build conical houses
out of limestone rock. So far, I have found a good quality of
corrugated iron, extra heavy, painted green and firmly nailed
to solid board sheathing to be the best in many ways, although
it is disliked by many Americans because of its association with
sheds and warehouses. Throughout the tropics of the world it
is far preferable to many common kinds of patent roofs or
shingles. It is inexpensive, durable, reliable and tight if properly
laid and painted. It yields a clean water supply for the cistern
and offers the least resistance to the wind. Boards underneath
will keep down the noise when it rains.
In short, the essentials are to build the living quarters well
above the ground, to have the roof four-sided with a slight slope
and a good chimney in the center to stabilize and ventilate the
whole structure. The house should be so built as to be open and
airy in hot weather and tight, but not air-tight, in times of storm.
Many old-time buildings in the tropics, although completely
screened with fine mesh wire are not fitted with glass-sash but
with solid shutters. In almost all tropical countries a fire is wel-
come in wet weather, and if exposed to northers a necessity.
As to materials of construction, much depends upon locality.
On the keys the natives depended upon wreckage. In many old
time tropical houses I have seen mahogany floors, the planks
cut out by hand, and worn smooth by much scrubbing, and the
tread of bare feet. Some of the limestone rock is soft and can


be cut easily with an axe or sawn. This hardens on exposure to
the air. Some of it is like marble. Sand for mortar is usually
plentiful by the seashore. Lime may be secured by burning the
surface rock. The best lime I have ever seen was produced by
burning conch shells. Wood and shells, or wood and surface rock
are mixed in a pile and burnt. A goodly quality of lime results
which can be slaked; then allowed to season for a few weeks. It
produces a fine mortar. There is nothing gained in using a
binder stronger than the rocks you are binding together. All the
bulky materials of construction can sometimes be found on the
same piece of land. Beach-combing in the early days was a
profitable and exciting pastime. Much that was needed was
washed ashore. Millions of feet of excellent lumber have wasted
on our shores. Passing schooners often lost their deck-loads.
In places on limestone islands close to the sea, well water is
often brackish and hard so that cisterns are necessary. These
should be covered, should be above ground and should be, if
possible, in the shade of the house. A covered galvanized iron
tank is the cheapest and best. On the keys some leave the
cement cistern open to the air and allow a small plant to float
therein so that racoons and birds can drink.
Solar heaters are now common so that in a country with plenty
of sunshine it is possible to have hot water at all times of the day.
A coil of pipe painted black and exposed to the sun may be easily
arranged. A tank properly insulated will retain the heat through-
out the night. Perhaps there is special health in sun-kissed water.
A solar condenser is also possible. Alexander Graham Bell de-
vised a simple solar condenser that produced pure distilled water
from the water in brackish pools.
If the house is fitted to its environment it will be inexpensive
and lasting. A house constructed according to northern methods
is not fitted to the conditions of a tropical climate. There is no
clay in south Florida, so both brick and tile are imported. Tile
roofs are beautiful but they are expensive and far from per-
fect. They are dependent on a good roof underneath, and even
so need to be mended and repaired in a very few years. It is often
difficult to locate a leak in a tile roof. The tile roofs and
miradors of the tropics are beautiful and pleasant, but in my
experience most of them leak when it rains the way it can rain
in the Antillean area.

5. r =..


b --0
-- .

A Cavendish Banana on the Keys
The Apple Banana is also grown but it is small, acid in flavor, with a thin skin.


The use of native rock avoids paint, and old stone walls if
well built, improve with age. A real house should grow out of
the land, out of materials yielded by the surrounding land, and
should fit the personality of the owner. If the lines are right,
regardless of the materials of construction if will look right,
especially if surrounded by the proper kind of foliage. Size and
cost have little to do with it. It should fit its environment, and
fifty dollars worth of shrubbery properly planted may add a
thousand dollars to it value.
An old rocky piece of land in the wild has little value. If,
by his skill and efforts, the homemaker converts these useless
things into something productive he has added not only to his
own but to the wealth of the nation. Land plus intelligent work is
the main source of wealth. Resources are useless unless intelli-
gently developed and used. These resources may be nothing but
a location and rough piles of rock till intelligent work converts
them into value. Land is worth what you put into it in the way
of brains and brawn. Architecture is one of the greatest of all
professions of man because it combines art and practicality. An
artist can paint a picture with rock and tree as well as with
brush and paint. The better he builds it, with crude local materi-
als, the greater his genius and the greater his conquest. I know of
no worthier effort than the building out of local materials, lying
useless on the land, a comfortable and durable home surrounded
by trees artistically arranged, selected not only for their beauty
but for the products they yield as well. He is the creator of pro-
ductive values. On these little places the architect's fees may be
small, but there is no place where there is better opportunity to
show his genius, or better opportunity to serve the bulk of the
people. Thrift should be used in its construction, without desire
to furnish labor or produce a market for all kinds of patented
devices and materials. A home should be so constructed as to
render life simpler, easier, and above all, add to your comfort
and piece of mind. If it adds to your troubles it fails in one of its
most important functions.
Those who are eager to share the wealth of the world are
usually those who have nothing. A man who owns a suitable and
comfortable home, free from excessive taxation, owns more than
the average citizen of any country. There is no easier place to
build it than here, and no better time than now.


Every place ought to have its own distinctive type of architec-
ture, adapted to its own special environment. Many places con-
sist of samples of all kinds, irregularly mixed and jumbled to-
gether, too expensive or big for the personality of the owner, and
often burdened with mortgages and useless clap-trap. A high
standard of living is desirable, but there must be a limit. It is
irksome to be too closely budgeted and to pay installments on
things long after they are ready for the junk pile.

From a tropical standpoint the premier fruits are coconut,
banana, breadfruit, avocado, mango, lime, pineapple, soursop,
guava, papaw, tomato, and melons. The premier root crop
throughout the tropical world is probably the sweet potato, al-
though its extensive use over broad areas is not generally recog-

Lists of Fruits
Achras sapota-Sapota zapotilla
Akee-Blighia sapida
Anacardium occidentale-Cashew
Ananas ananas-Pineapple
Annona reticulata-Custard apple
Annona glabra-Pond apple
Annona Muricata-Sour sop
Annona squamosa-Sugar apple
Artocarpus communis-Breadfruit
Avocado-Persea gratissima
Banana-Musa paradisiaca
Blighia sapida-Akee
Breadfruit-Artocarpus communis
Cantaloupe-Cucumis melo
Carob-Ceratonia siliqua
Carica papaya-Papaw


Carissa grandiflora-Natal plum
Casimiroa edulis-White sapota
Cashew-Anacardium occidentale
Ceratonia siliqua-Carob
Cherry surinam-Eugenia uniflora
Cherry-Laurocerasus sphaerocarpa
Chrysobalanus icaco-Cocoplum
Citrullus citrullus-Watermelon
Citron-Citrus medical
Citrus aurantium-Sweet orange
Citrus decumanna-Pomelo or grapefruit
Citrus limetta-Lime
Citrus limonium-Lemon
Citrus medica-Citron
Citrus nobilis-Tangerine
Citrus vulgaris-Bitter orange
Coconut or Cocopalm-Cocos nucifera
Cocoplum-Chrysobalanus icaco
Cocos nucifera-Coconut or Cocopalm
Cucumis melo-Cantaloupe
Custard apple-Annona reticulata
Date palm-Phoenix dactylifera
Egg-fruit-Lucuma rivicoa var. angustifolia
Eugenia jambos-Rose apple
Eugenia pitanga-Surinam cherry
Ficus carica-Fig
Fig-Ficus carica
Grape, Key-Vitis sp.
Grapefruit-Citrus decumanna
Guava-Psidium guajava
Hibicus sabdariffa-Roselle or Jamaica sorrel
Laurocerasus sphaerocarpa-West India cherry
Lemon-Citrus limonium
Lime-Citrus limetta
Lucuma rivicoa var. angustifolia-Ti-es or Egg-fruit
Lycopersicum esculentum-Tomato
Mangifera indica-Mango
Mango-Mangifera indica
Melicocus bijugatus-Spanish Lime
Mulberry-Morus nigra and rubra


Morus nigra-Black mulberry
Morus rubra-Red Mulberry
Musa paradiciaca-Banana
Muscadinia munsoniana-Wild shore-grape
Natal-plum-Carissa grandiflora
Orange-Citrus vulgaris and Citrus aurantium
Opuntia ficus-indica-Tuna
Papaw-Carica papaya
Persea gratissima-Avocado
Phoenix dactylifera-Date-palm
Pineapple-Ananas ananas
Pomelo-Citrus decumana
Pomegranate-Punica granatum
Pond apple-Annona glabra
Punica granatum-Pomegranate
Psidium guajava-Common guava
Rose apple-Eugenia jambos
Roselle-Hibiscus sabdariffa
Sapota zapotilla-Sapodilla
Sapodilla-Sapota (or Achras) zapotilla
Shaddock-Citrus decumanna
Sour-sop-Annona muricata
Spanish lime-Melicocus bijugatus
Sugar apple-Annona squamosa
Surinam cherry-Eugenia uniflora
Tamarind-Tamarindus indica
Tamarindus indica-Tamarind
Tangerine-Citrus nobilis.
Ti-es-Lucuma rivicoa var. angustifolia
Tomato-Lycopersicum esculentum
Vitis sp.-Key grape
Watermelon-Citrullus citrullus

When a wind strikes a forest of hardy trees it is not only di-
verted upward but it is checked and divided by every twig and
branch. These shelter-belts are not just any kind of plantings.
They are carefully constructed to do the work for which they
are meant to meet the conditions of each locality. The area pro-
tected in its lea is twenty times the height of the trees. With a
shelter-belt two hundred feet wide, containing in its center trees


fifty feet high, the zone protected before the wind again reaches
normal velocity is one thousand feet. If a series of such belts
are constructed, vast areas would be safe especially along the
shores of almost all tropical seas.
Big climates really consist of many little climates. Disturb-
ances of many kinds in the atmosphere cling to the surface of the
earth. All geographers are agreed that at least one-third of all
the land in the country should be in hardy storm-fast trees. If
properly placed in shelter-belts, where most needed, it would be
far more effective that scattered by chance here and there over the
face of the earth.
Patchs of mangrove, although in swamp or perfectly level
land, often look like hills completely covered with vegetation.
This is due to the fact that they are usually rounded and sloping.
This effect is produced by the spreading of the trees in every
direction, the oldest and biggest being in the center, and the
smallest and youngest on the outer edges. These trees fight not
only the wind but the waves as well. They crawl on their scraggly
legs out into the sea, consolidating muddy shores, protecting the
land in the lea from the breaking of the waves which in times of
hurricane are loaded with booms and other refuse.
Groups of trees could be properly fitted to their environment
-natural trees where they belong, swamp trees where they
belong, hammock trees in hammocks, sand-lovers in sand land,
together with all the smaller shrubbery and herbage that naturally
belong there. In other words, plant forests in forest formation-
not just trees. Trees are for service to and for man, and not the
object of constant protection from man. If planted how, when
and where they should be they will do their part in protecting us
against the destructive forces of nature.
Dew never falls. It congeals on objects of all kinds. In a flat
treeless country there is no chance for it to form. Where the wind
has full sweep it seldom forms. But wherever there are twigs,
branches and leaves it forms freely, and in the tropics is a source
of much moisture. In many tropical countries it means the dif-
ference between desert and jungle.
South Florida is in the lea of the north wind. It sweeps on
southward over the water, causing plenty of discomfort to the
north shores of many tropical countries. Florida is geographical-
ly so situated that shelter belts could be rendered very effective


dA P

ome Protconl SHELTERBELT ID istance.20 times heightof windbreak l
times helgMh I




I-,-, I IO I I I,

IQBA20 I5-' I31 -'-A
Diagram by U.-S, Forest Service


if properly constructed. It might be better to render them wedge-
shape across the state so that the winds would be shunted into the
Gulf or Ocean. Above all we should avoid broad open spaces
over which the wind has full sweep, and plant such trees on the
keys that will check the wind and afford protection. Native and
naturalized trees are best because they have stood the test of time
and many gales, otherwise they would not be here.
The following is a list of about fifty trees and other plants yield-
ing fine woods, oils, fibers, foods and medicines. There are
many more which I have not mentioned which are growing on the
keys and many more which have never yet been tried, but of all
the trees of the world it would be difficult to find a more useful
or hardier time-tried group:

Pinus caribaea-Cuban Pine
The common timber pine of South Florida. Grows also in
West Indies and Central America. Also called Slashpine. It is
a hardy tropical pine, common on lower keys.

Sabal palmetto-Cabbage Palmetto
Our fine native palm, yielding palm-cabbage and medicinal

Cocos nucifera-Cocopalm
One of the most beautiful and useful members of the plant
world, yielding food, drink and shelter to many primitive
peoples of the world. This tree grows in sandy soil along the
seashores of tropical Florida, and although most of the nuts
were planted by the hand of man, undoubtedly some have sprung
from seeds which have washed ashore and been buried in sea-
weed and sand on the beach.

Phoenix dactylifera-Date Palm
The date palm grows and fruits on the keys, but it requires a
desert sun to produce sweet fruit.

Casuarina equisetifolia and cunninghamiana-Austra-
lian Pine, Beefwood
A tree of the East Indies and Australia, but now common
throughout the tropics. Grows close to the sea, and has been used


in the fixation of moving dunes along the seashore. It is usually
called the Australian Pine, but a patch of them on Biscayne Bay
is know as the "Cedars." This tree has become naturalized in
south Florida and young trees of this species are growing here
and there on the shore, the seeds of which have no doubt been
washed ashore. It is a valuable addition to the silva of the State
of Florida. Should be extensively planted for timber. It with-
stands the gales and yields a wood like oak. C. cunninghamiana
is unexcelled as a windbreak.
Morus rubra-Red mulberry
Common throughout the State.

Morus nigra-Black Mulberry
Commonly planted for its large, black, juicy fruit. Probably
originally came from Persia. Always good anywhere.
Ficus aurea-Golden Fig
South Florida and the West Indies. Grows first on limbs and
trunks of other trees, throws down aerial roots to the ground
and finally chokes and kills the tree upon which it started.
Very vigorous and hardy on the keys. Fine for windbreak.
Artocarpus communis-Breadfruit
Grows in Key West and the Bahamas and would grow on all
the keys if properly protected.
Cocolobis uvifera-Sea Grape
Common on the seashore of southern Florida, also West Indies.
Annona muricata-Sour Sop
Fine fruit for ice cream and other purposes. May prove
valuable when properly handled.
Moringa moringa-Horseradish Tree
The root of this tree, finely scraped, is eaten as horseradish.
The Oil of Ben, used by perfumers, is extracted from the seeds
of this tree. Oil used to lubricate watches.
Chrysobalanus icaco-Cocoplum
Excellent for jam. Very hardy. Fruit contains rich, oily


Laurocerasus sphaerocarpa-West Indian Cherry
Good tree.
Pithecolobium gaudaloupense-Goatbush, Black-bead
This is a native bush, but sometimes reaches tree proportions.
It is valuable because it is the first hardwood leguminous shrub
to appear in the pine woods, and on some islands. It enriches
the soil by its litter and paves the way for other hardwoods. It
marks the beginning of the transition from pinewoods to ham-
mock conditions.
Albizzia lebbek-Siris or Lebbek Tree
Called Woman's Tongue in Nassau.
Lysiloma latisiliqua-Wild Tamarind
Common in places on the keys. Wood heavy, hard, tough,
close-grained, rich brown, tinged with red. Very vigorous.
Excellent soil rejuvenator. Wonderful shelter tree with rich
litter. Fine cabinet wood.
Leucaena glauca-Jumbai or Lead Tree
Hardy forerunner.
Tamarindus indica-Tamarind
Heavy bearer on the keys.
Ceratonia siliqua-St. John's Bread or Carob
Ichthyomethia piscipula-Jamaica Dogwood
A common and very valuable tree for south Florida. Might
be used to advantage as a shade and ornamental. Grows quickly,
has an abundance of pea-like flowers in clusters which honey
bees are fond of. As the name indicates, it is a fish poison. The
bark and twigs are bruised and lowered in a basket into the
water. A poison is dissolved which stupefies fish that come near
it. They float to the surface and are easily captured. This tree
grows well from seeds and it propagation should be encouraged.
Hardy soil rejuvenator.
Cajan cajan-Pigeon Pea
Makes a small but useful tree. Poultry are fond of its seeds
and its leaves enrich the soil. Peas used for the famous pigeon-
pea soup.


Guaiacum sanctum-Lignum Vitae
Native to the keys. Beautiful blue flowers, highly ornamental,
yielding one of the world's toughest woods.
Amyris elemifera-Torchwood
Wood heavy, hard, strong, close-grained; very resinous, very
durable; light orange in color. Burns like a torch. Torch Key
was probably named for this wood.

Citrus limetta-Lime
The lime is the premier fruit on the keys. The fine roots
penetrate the alkaline rock better than other citrus fruits. It
can be used as stock for other species but not very successfully.
The little trees produce small but juicy fruit when budded to
tangerines. The famous Perrine Lemon will probably do well
on lime roots since it is half lime and half lemon. The seed of
the lime is sown thick in a sheltered rich hole with sufficient
soil. When only a few inches high, during a moist time they are
planted wherever it is possible to find a hole in the rock. They
should be sheltered by the wild-tamarind, or similar hardy trees,
and should be kept free of weeds and vines. They are full of
spines and hard to pick if mosquitoes are bad. There should be
space enough for a person to pass between the trees. Before
prohibition the profit was good, easily one hundred dollars per
acre net a year. Hurricanes injured the groves and the industry
was neglected, but of late some have netted two hundred dollars
or more an acre. There is no finer product of sun and soil than
the fragrant half wild key lime. Whether for limeade at a
Sunday school picnic or a gin-ricky at your club the wild
Mexican lime has never yet been excelled by any variety pro-
duced by man. The aroma is pleasantly fragrant, and the juice
deliciously acid and abundant. Unfortunately practically all
recipes call for lemons. There is nothing more refreshing and
healthful on a hot day than a limeade. Years ago we pickled
limes in the salt sea-water and shipped them to Boston where
the sour salt flavor appealed to the children at recess. These
limes were in demand in the early days to prevent scurvy on
shipboard. Old square riggers were called "lime juicers," and
old pirates and buccaneers of that day and region depended on
the lime.


Bursera simaruba-Gumba Limbo
South Florida and the West Indies. Grows easily from a
cutting or large limb stuck in the ground; frequently used in
this way for live fence posts. Grows very quickly and has a
very striking, bronzy red trunk, with papery bark. The term
gumbo-limbo is probably a negro corruption of the term gum-
elemi. Called "gamolimie" in the Bahamas, which is also
probably a corruption of gum-elemi. Gum good for musilage.
Also used as a medicine.
Swietenia mahagoni-Mahogany
Called also madeira, the latter word being simply the Spanish
for "wood." Common on the keys and parts of the southern
mainland. The king of all woods. Something ought to be done
to encourage the perpetuation of this, our choicest native hard-
wood, in the only part of the mainland of the United States where
it can possibly grow. It is very hardy, and although a heavy
wood, grows with surprising rapidity. When I first visited the
keys in 1892 I saw a pig-pen made of mahogany poles. The
crooked parts of the trees had been used for boat timbers.
Drypetes diversifolia-Whitewood
South Florida and West Indies. A very beautiful native tree.
Gymnanthes lucida-Crabwood
Southern Florida and West Indies. Some say this wood is
poisonous. It is, however, a very pretty wood and is often used
in the manufacture of canes, paper-knives and similar articles.
Ricinus communis-Castor Oil Tree
Attains the size of a small tree in south Florida. Valuable
Plant. Oil is very useful, seed pumice is a valuable fertilizer,
and the plant is not exhaustive to the soil. In medicine is a great
Aleurites moluccana-Lumbang or Candelnut Tree
Yields a fine oil similar to Tung.
Hippomane mancinella-Manchineel
Southern Florida and the West Indies. A tree to be shy of.
Fortunately not common on the mainland. Poisonous to the


touch of many people, producing a distressing dermatitis worse
than poison ivy. I have tried washing with pure soap and rain
water and followed with tannic acid, with fairly good results.
Metopium-Poison Wood
Very common weed tree in south Florida. Poisonous and
when bruised exudes a gum which blackens the trunk of the
tree. One of the first trees to come up after hammock land has
been cut and burnt.
Mangifera indica-Mango
Extensively planted in the southern countries, producing an
abundance of choice fruits, some of the imported and improved
varieties ranking with the choicest of all fruits. At the same
time a valuable shade and ornamental tree. I like the Chinese
or Siagon mango the best. The Chinese mango comes true to
Anacardium occidentale-Cashew Nut
Splendid nut. Will grow if sheltered.
Sapindus saponaria-Soap Berry
The hull of the seed contains soap. Fine for cleaning porce-
lain. The seeds are used to stupefy fishes.
Blighia sapida-Vegetable Calf Brains
The Akee of Africa and Jamaica. The white covering of the
seeds is a wholesome vegetable. Grows well if sheltered.
Melicoccus bijugatus-Spanish Lime or Genip; Mamon
Pulp edible. Nuts in Venezuela are roasted and eaten like
chestnuts. Common in Key West. Fruits are eaten raw or con-
verted into jam. Called Spanish Lime because its fruit resembles
a green lime. Ground seeds used for cattle feed. Pleasant shade
tree and storm-fast.
Rhamnidium ferreum-Black Ironwood
The heaviest wood in the United States of America.
Ceiba pentandra-Silk Cotton Tree
Yields kapok. Mexican species yield pochote.
Carica papaya-Papaw
Contains vegetable pepsin. Fine fruit.


Bixa orellana-Annatta
A small tree yielding an orange colored dye, used for butter
color, and for coloring other foods.
Persea gratissima, aquacate, avocado, avocato, alligator
pear, butter pear, midshipman's butter, palta, etc.
A salad fruit. Practically naturalized in south Florida. Ex-
tensively cultivated for home consumption and shipment north.
Several improved varieties propagated by budding. Must be
protected on the keys from salt wind. Of the different kinds I
like the Lula and Linda.
Punica granatum-Pomegranate
Grows well on keys.
Conocarpus erecta-Buttonwood
Southern Florida. Chiefly along salt shores. Highly prized
for fuel. The best fuel I know of since it makes great heat and
almost no smoke. Fine for building shelter-belts along the sea-
shore. Good wind break.
Bucida buceras-Black Olive Tree
A fine shade tree, found wild only on Elliott's Key.
Laguncularia racemosa-White Mangrove
South Florida and West Indies. Muddy shores, common.
Eugenia jambos-Roseapple
A common introduced species; although a native of India it
is naturalized in the West Indies. Eugenia pitanga is the much
prized Surinam Cherry, grows in yards which are sheltered.
The rose-apple has a strong rose flavor.
Psidium guajava-Common Guava
Probably the greatest of all jelly-producing fruits. Common
throughout Florida.
Melaleuca leucodendron-The Cajeput Tree
Grows well in Florida and yields Cajeput oil. Grows in salt
and fresh swamp.
Rhizophora mangle-Red Mangrove
South Florida and the West Indies. A wonderful tree, grows

Mahogany Trees in South Florida


;- ~j,
*4PL-'"- .lr "''
a r
r-. u .r


in salt water and of great value in consolidating muddy shores;
it has been called the "land former." Deserves to be protected
because of the protection it affords to exposed shores in times
of storm. Planations on the keys in the shelter of mangroves
suffered little damage in the great storm in the fall of 1906,
while those exposed to the fury of the waves bearing floating
wreckage were ruined.

Sapota zapotillo-Sapodilla
Naturalized on the keys, where it is a common fruit. Planted
also on the mainland. A tree hard to start, but hardy when
started. Yields an everlasting wood and a gum called chicle,
the basis of chewing gum.

Sideroxylum mastichodendron-Mastic
Valuable forest tree of southern Florida. Grows to be large
and is quite common, shedding an abundance of yellow fruits
which are edible in case one likes the flavor. Mastic would
probably make a satisfactory shade tree. Storm-fast and fine

Lucuma rivicoa var. angustifolia-Ti-es, or Egg-fruit
A promising fruit.

Olea euporea-Olive
Grows but does not fruit. There was the same difficulty with
it in southern California. With proper treatment it might yield
a valuable crop for this region.

Avicenna nitida-Black Mangrove
Very valuable tree, like the red mangrove, for consolidating
muddy shores.

Exostema caribaeum-Princewood
Bark a tonic. Would probably make a useful bitters like

Capriola dactylon-Bermuda Grass
Is a common pasture grass on the keys. It was apparently
introduced from Europe years ago.


Tricholaena rosea-Natal Grass
This beautiful grass forming pink pastures on the sands of
south Florida is spreading by the wayside on the keys, being
sucked along by passing autos. It fed the big strong Red Afri-
kander cattle, the best breed for hot, dry countries.
The Key Grape often grown by the key natives in their back
yards should not be confounded with the little wild grape that
is native everywhere in the bush. This little grape is used in
wine manufacture, but the real so-called Key Grape is of large
sized berries, fair sized bunches, and was, I have been told,
brought from the Island of Eleutheria. To Eleutheria I have been
told it came from a hot-house in England. They are hard to find
at the present time. At one time these keys were cultivated to
pineapples which were shipped by schooner to Baltimore to the
canneries. The Cuban competition was too strong. In the same
way these rocky keys could never compete with the cheap labor
of Yucatan and Cuba in the production of sisal plants. Dr.
Perrine introduced sisal on Lignum Vitae Key a hundred years
ago. Progeny from these plants have spread and some slips
were shipped to the Bahamas. It is still common on the keys
but it is never used.
The banana melon is usually planted after the first crop of
tomatoes. It is a large melon and very delicious, selling readily
at ten cents per pound. Many people rate the key tomato more
as a fruit than vegetable, since many who go to the keys carry
a little salt and eat them freely out of hand. They are solid
and sweet.
Carissa grandiflora (Gifford variety) should be extensively
planted on the keys for hedges. It grows well there, yields a
fruit similar in flavor to the cranberry. Has a milky juice and
does not burn easily. Very spiny. Highly ornamental. The
best hedge plant for highways.
Years ago I planted a very small Hungarian watermelon
on the keys after a crop of tomatoes. The melon was very
sweet, about the size of a grapefruit, and could be served half
a melon to a person, to be eaten with a spoon. It was a novelty
while it lasted, but apparently our people prefer big melons and
big pumpkins. Large watermelons have good flavor on the keys
but are often misshapen from growing among the rocks.


The Key pumpkin is a small green pumpkin, but of extra
good quality. It is the same pumpkin so common in the
Bahamas and the pumpkin raised by the Seminoles. The Indian
word "Chassahowitska" mean "hanging pumpkins." The Indians
girdled the live-oaks and let the pumpkin vines climb their
trunks so that they looked like strange trees bearing large green
fruits. There were patches of the Prickly Pear and Prickly
Apple, especially near Indian campsites. These desert plants
grow well in rocky salina land, at times flooded with salt water.
The same applies to the sisal which grows also in salt lowlands.
These plants no doubt, like the Red Mangrove-although grow-
ing in wet places, are physiologically dry.
Dr. John K. Small in a note on page 9 in a pamphlet on
Reminiscences of A. W. Chapman, Journal of the New York
Botanical Garden, in referring to comptie says, "This plant
was very likely native on Key West before its pinelands were
devasted." On a military map of Florida prepared by order of
the Honorable Jefferson Davis, Secretary of War, in 1856, the
archipelago west of Bahia Honda was marked Pine Islands.
The comptie referred to belongs to the cycas or sago family. It
is a wild root crop, yielding a very nutritous starch which was
the mainstay of the early settlers and Indians that preceded them.
It should be cultivated because it produces a valuable food on
exceedingly poor, dry, rocky land. Palmetto Cabbage or the
terminal bud of our cabbage palmetto was also used for food
and is still used but no tree should ever be sacrificed for a pot
of cabbage.
There is one thing done on the keys which I have never seen
done elsewhere. The worker cuts off the side branches of a
small sapling. He sticks his grubhoe tight down over the sapling
just as you would thread a needle. The sapling is allowed to
grow for a few weeks until the eye is tightly and completely
filled with wood. Then he saws the sapling off below the grub-
hoe. In that way he has a handle which does not come off. He
has actually grown a handle on his grubhoe.
All of these crops demand shelter from the destructive forces
of nature. Shelter belts, or wind breaks are a necessity. Any
wind over fifteen miles an hour is more or less destructive to
tender vegetation.



Leading like stepping stones in a curved line southwestward
from Miami to Key West and beyond is an archipelago of
islands, or keys and barrier reefs. These islands front on a sea,
sometimes called the Gulf of Florida, which is bordered by many
more islands of a similar nature in the Bahamas and on the
coast of Cuba. Through this unnamed sea flows the greatest of
all rivers, called by Benjamin Franklin, the Gulf Stream, with
many islands and shoals forming a sort of delta known as the
Bahamas. Because of the warm waters in this great unnamed
sea to the south of us, our nights are seldom cold like in
northern Africa, so that the cocopalm and other tropical trees
flourish. This, together with a watertable close to the surface,
gives to these little limestone islands many treasures from the
hand of nature and many undeveloped possibilities. Along the
Florida Keys is the Hawk Channel, separated from the deep
Gulf Stream by a jagged barrier reef of coral, which for years
has been a cemetery for ships. Many creeks and bays formed
safe hiding places for small craft engaged in wrecking and
plunder even before the Spaniards landed. Even within the
memory of men now living, when a ship hit the reef the conch
horns blew, and by a sort of grapevine telegraphy the news
spread and she soon fell an easy victim. What the Indian did
was no different from what the white man did and still does
when opportunity offers. It was a fine rendezvous for pirates
of all kinds. Lieutenant Porter was a famous pirate fighter. He
was the first to use old ferry-boats for the purpose on the Florida
keys. They drew little water, they moved both ways with equal
ease, and with guns at both ends they finally drove away the
worst and the most of them. It was the first time ferry-boats
were ever used in warfare. With the products of plunder from
passing ships in one of the world's greatest sea-lanes with sea
and back lands teeming with game it was a Heaven-on-earth
for adventurous rascals of all kinds, including the Indian who
could safely hide in a back-land of mud and unbridged rivers.
The Arawaks over in Cuba were lazy, peaceful Indians. So


were the Lucayans over in the Bahamas, but the Calusas who
inhabited south Florida were like the Caribs, fierce and active.
The last chief of these Calusas was a tough actor by the name of
Chakika. There was turmoil for a long time throughout Florida.
We had about one hundred and fifty forts and almost as many
broken treaties. We paid Spain fifteen millions for Florida.
Then we drove the Indians into the swamps of the south in order
to sell the land to get back the purchase price. According to
our treaty with Spain we agreed to uphold the rights of the
natives. The great masterpiece of these treaties was promulgated
by General Macomb in 1839. We agreed that if the Indians
would move into the swamp-lands they would not be deported
and would be allowed to develop their own destiny unhindered.
It is related that Tiger Tail, rather than leave his native land,
killed himself by drinking powdered glass in water. Indians
suffered from home-sickness the same or even worse than other
people, not so much for the fragile shacks in which they lived,
but for the general environment, the place where the spirits of
their ancestors were supposed to linger. Anyway, the famous
Chakika, with two hundred and fifty followers, was living on
the Caloosahatchee, the river of the Calusas leading from their
home on Lake Okeechobee to their settlements on the Gulf.
Colonel Harney with nineteen soldiers went to this section to
establish a trading post under this Macomb treaty. They were
murdered by the Indians except Colonel Harney and a few
others who retreated with haste. This, so far as I have been
able to determine, is our first introduction to the famous blood-
thirsty Chakika. He was reputed to be large, powerful and
savage. After the scrap with Colonel Harney nothing happened
for some time. Mixed with these Indians were maroons, mostly
free negroes. Probably some were runaway slaves. Nothing
happened until one morning in August in 1840. Seventeen
canoes, loaded with Indians under the direction of this same
Chakika, landed on Indian Key and commenced to loot, kill and
burn. They killed Dr. Perrine but spared Dr. Howe, while
Mr. Goodyear of rubber fame and the vice-president of Dr.
Perrine's company, it is reported, safely hid in the thick foliage
of a native rubber tree. Anyway, they killed six people. Others
escaped to Matecumbe. There was a revenue vessel belonging
to the Florida squadron in the harbor. In the excitement they


lost some of their guns overboard. Anyway, after the Indians
had finished they quietly paddled with their loot into the Ever-
glades. Chakika hid his stuff on some little islands about thirty
miles west of Miami, which was then known as Fort Dallas. The
river was called the Miami River, Miami being a Calusa word
for "big lake," the same as Okeechobee in Seminole. Now thou-
sands of tourists speed by Chakika's Islands on the Tamiami
Trail at the rate of a mile a minute. It is easy to imagine old
Chakika and his dusky followers under the live-oaks, surrounded
by piles of loot, shielded by the dense fringe of Cocoplum on
these little islands in the glades. It is hard to imagine what may
not be found buried in the mud on these patches of land, stolen
long ago from passing ships. The white men probably stole it
also-so these Indians were our aboriginal highjackers.
To the eastward the trail led to the Miami River, to the west
to Shark and Harney's Rivers, a trail for canoes through the
mud and sawgrass. To the south and east lay the Indian Hunt-
ing Grounds, in the heart of which the well-known Perrine Grant
was located. Chakika was known as a Spanish Indian, but they
were probably not too friendly for the Spaniards built their
missions northward by St. Augustine and neglected the south
end because of the fierceness of the natives. He was also called
a Muspa Indian; the word "muspa" is one of the few Calusa
words that have survived.
In December, 1840, four or five months after the massacre on
Indian Key, some of the loot was discovered in Chakika's camp,
west of Miami River. Colonel Harney was sent with one hundred
men from Fort Dallas to wreak vengeance on the Indians. The
camp was surrounded and five of the warriors were killed, in-
cluding Chakika. They hung them to trees, and the slayer of
Chakika took his scalp. Thus ended the last of the chiefs of the
Calusas. Word reached Sam Jones, who lived to the northward
on the west edge of the glades in a place still known as Sam
Jones' Town, still an Indian center, still a lone spot on the map.
His real name was something like Ar-pe-i-ka, although variously
spelled. He came to bury his Indian comrades according to
Indian custom. Old Sam Jones was not a Calusa. He was
chief of the Mikasuki tribe. He was a great medicine man, knew
roots, barks, etc., but was an old man when the Seminole War
began. When the war was over he had about seventeen warriors


and a large number of women in his clan. The Mikasukis had
a bad reputation, even among the Indians. They were a roving,
gypsy-like people, not very honest, and not highly respected by
other Indians, although they constitute a considerable portion
of the Indians we call Seminoles. The question is often asked,
"'Who were the Calusas?" The following is a resume of the
descriptions furnished by the American Bureau of Ethnology.
The Calusa was an important tribe that inhabited the southwest
coast of Florida from Tampa to Cape Sable, and Cape Florida
on inland to Lake Okeechobee. Their influence extended also
over part of the East Coast. They cultivated the ground to a
limited extent. They were expert fishermen, seamen and fierce
fighters. They were the last to come under Spanish influence.
They were accused of cannibalism, and in spite of flies wore no
clothes. They attacked Ponce de Leon in 1513 with eighty
canoes and drove him away after an all-day fight. They accumu-
lated wealth from passing ships. In 1600 they carried fish,
skins and other things in trade to Havana by canoe. They were
gradually forced southward by other Indians from the north.
When Florida was ceded to England eighty families moved to
Havana. A few were left behind and maintained a distinct
existence till the close of the second Seminole War. Nothing is
known of their linguistic relationships. Nobody knows where
they came from or the stock of which they were a part or to which
they might be related. Some Indian boys of this tribe attended
a mission school in Havana in the sixteenth century. A Jesuit
by the name of Rogel and an assistant studied their language
but no records have been found. Fontaneda, and a Quaker by
the name of Dickinson, were caught in their clutches and both
have written books describing their experiences. They also held
captive two hundred Arawaks from Cuba. These Arawaks were
hunting for the fountain of youth, and were held in a sort of
bondage by the Calusa over by Turner's Creek on the West
Coast. Except for these meager records, a few place names, and
a few camp sites, there is nothing left of them. It is more than
likely that the Seminoles who pushed them off the map of
Florida captured their wives and children. The Seminole is
therefore, no doubt, a mixture of several tribes, including the
Calusa and the negro, all of whom had in common a well founded
hatred for the white man.

Ficus aurea-The Golden or Strangler Fig

One of the Commonest Wild Trees on the Keys

g~r arsa
L *E.
u''" "..":.".~F~:~;~
"""hhs; ~


They may have introduced the cotton and various cacti yield-
ing fruits. Cacti and wild cotton are common on old Indian
camp sites on the keys. When water was scarce it is said the
Indians squeezed the juice out of the cactus fruits for drink.
They would push a stick through the fruit and hold it for a short
time over a fire to singe off the spines.

In 1892 while instructor in Swathmore College was sent to
the Bahamas to arrange for an expedition from Swathmore and
the University of Pennsylvania. I went first to the Island of
Eleuthera, an island settled long ago by the Eleutherian Ad-
venturers. When my job was finished I shipped on an old
steamer called the Lizzie Henderson, bound for Tampa with a
load of rock for the construction of the Tampa Bay Hotel. We
stopped on the way at Key West for fuel and water. At that time
there were many people living on the keys, but the mainland
was sparsely settled. The ship had brought sisal slips to Nassau
from Lignum Vitae Key. When we passed Biscayne Bay the
captain said there were two small settlements near the Miami
River. He said the bay was shallow and the land very wild and
rocky, but that some day they had hopes of building a city that
would be bigger and better than Key West. He explained that
they had plenty of fresh water in the Biscayne Bay region fit
for household use. Little did I realize that the mysterious shore
in the offing would be my home for thirty-five years. Tampa
was little more than a village, with sandy, grassy streets through
which cattle freely roamed. They showed me a fine grapefruit
tree full of fruit which they said had little value, and being bitter
was eaten only by the negroes.
A few years later while professor in the New York State
College of Forestry, in company with a friend, I left Ithaca for
Miami. It was necessary to spend the night in Jacksonville.
Early in the morning the bright yellow-colored train, with a
chair-car for the well-to-do left for Miami. The train stopped
one hundred and eighty-seven times on its journey south. The
cars were full of dust and smoke. We finally arrived after mid-
night. It was moonlight and the upper porch of our hotel looked


down on many yards full of tropical trees and fragrant flowers.
We asked Colonel Waddell if there was anything of special
interest in the neighborhood. He recommended a trip to Coco-
nut Grove, so we hired an old negro with a pony and coach and
followed a narrow white road through a dense tropical jungle.
It was like a white ribbon through a tunnel of green. We went
to the Peacock Inn, and liked it so well that we sent back for our
baggage. The bay was filled with picturesque sail boats. Some
were bringing in turtle, conchs and fish; others were loaded with
truck and fruit from the keys. Others had brought passengers
and groceries from Key West. One man on the porch said that he
thought they might be able to grow vegetables on the mainland
as well as on the keys if they could find the right kind of
fertilizer. Seminoles were loafing on the lawn. The names of
such men as Agassiz were on the register. South Florida was
practically an island, separated from the rest of the state by
miles of mud and unbridged rivers. Key West was the main
city. All this country depended on boat trade to and from
Key West. It was the metropolis and the mainland was the
back country. With the construction of highways and railroads
this has all been reversed. The center has shifted to Miami.
Formerly this region was West Indian or Antillean in character.
It was soon overwhelmed by northern notions, and soon lost its
intimate connection with Cuba and the Bahamas. The construc-
tion of highways and railroads marked a very decided epoch in
the history of south Florida. The perfection of light-houses and
fast boats stopped the wrecking on the shores. In short, at that
time the keys lost their West Indian crops, West Indian natives,
West Indian customs and West Indian glamor. There is per-
haps little of the Florida of old which can be saved. The old
time atmosphere is gone because the things which produced it
no longer exist. The very landscape has changed. Northern
customs have prevailed, and I doubt if we are any better, cer-
tainly not happier than in those good old days when nobody
locked their doors, when everybody had plenty to eat and no-
body was ever in a hurry. Wrecking was a legitimate business,
and Key West was its center. Captains of old time schooners
had their homes there. This extended back to about 1858. Pre-
vious to this date, for many years the whole country, except the
Lower Keys, was in constant turmoil. The natives fled in fear


of the Indians, and there is little to record except the establish-
ment of forts and skirmishes here and there in a kind of guerilla
warfare. Back of 1858 were Spanish and Indian days, about
which very little is really known. Perrine tried to settle it in
1840, but long before then the Indians were on the warpath.
During Spanish times I am sure this country had many interesting
events not recorded in any history.
Many of the English settlers of the Keys came from the
Bahamas, especially the Island of Eleuthera, and with them
came many useful things. I can trace more to Eleuthera than
to any other island. Sitting on a bank of coral sand on this
Island of Eleuthera overlooking the broad Atlantic your mind
harks back to the seventeenth century when the Eleutherian
Adventurers first settled this island. Worn and worried by the
pressure of people and policies these Adventurers sought a place
where they could do as they pleased, so they named the island
Eleuthera to replace the Cigatoo or Segatoo of Columbus. This
has been the dream of all peoples from the beginning of time.
New settlements throughout the world have been built on migra-
tions founded on discontent. So Eleuthera was selected and
named as the place where "every man might enjoy his own
opinion or religion without control or question." No colony was
ever founded on broader ideas of freedom. This company of
Eleutherian Adventurers was formed in London in 1649. Flor-
ida was ceded to the English by Spain in 1763 in exchange for
Cuba, but was returned to Spain in 1783. During these twenty
years there was probably considerable English settlement. They
probably cultivated the soil in cotton and indigo, or cut timber
and then when opportunity afforded, as in British Honduras,
preyed on passing ships. The leading Independents of the
Island of Bermuda moved to Eleuthera, and for some years it
was a sort of place of exile for the religious malcontents of
Bermuda, the mother colony. This was one of the earliest Anglo
Saxon settlements in America, only forty-two years after the
settlement of Jamestown. I visited this island once in 1892, and
several times since, in search of signs of its past glory. In the
domestic animals and cultivated plants I saw evidences of intro-
ductions of various exotics from the farflung realm of the
British Empire and the foot prints of men of superior minds who
at one time lived there. In another section I visited a lone village


of blacks among the rocks. Many of these natives were run-
aways who had sought refuge in this remote section of the island.
It was here too where the English dumped the slaves from cap-
tured slave traders. In the tropics where there is an abundance
of warmth, sunlight, moisture and food materials, plants and
probably people also developed their own personalities with-
out outside restrictions. In each tropical forest each member
thereof gives and takes just enough to supply his personal wants
from day to day. In time a lasting equilibrium is established
and the forest and its inhabitants in kind and number stay about
the same forever. This is the equanimity of the jungle. Freedom,
even on a far distant isle, is difficult for both plant and animal.
There must be both mutalism and struggle, and these must be
delicately balanced and controlled. All any man can ever do
is to try to solve some of the Eleusinian mysteries in his own
back yard.
One wonders if the Eleutherian Adventurers ever did find
what they were looking for in that little island on the steep edge
of the broad Atlantic. They moved from England to Bermuda,
Bermuda to Eleuthera, and then from Eleuthera to south Florida
and elsewhere.
In some of the old Conchs on the keys there was a scholarly
strain, an unusual politeness, a religious zeal, an excellent use
of English, an inheritance perhaps from the Eleutherian Ad-
venturers of the seventeenth century. The descendants of these
came to the Floridan Keys along the Gulf Stream for the better
pickings along the shore. They developed into the so-called
Conchs who have already merged with the rest of the crowd
from all quarters of the globe. They are no longer frightened at
the sight of a locomotive. A cake of ice is no longer to them a
mystery. They no longer communicate from farm to farm with
conch horns.
In 1646 Captain William Sayle, on more than one occasion
Governor of the Bermudas, obtained or professed to have ob-
tained from the English Parliament a grant of one of the islands
in the Bahamas, and led these people to Eleuthera or Abaco.
No record of the grant, however, has been found. People in New
England, fearing for their welfare, sent them food. In return
they loaded the boat with braziletto wood. This wood was sold


and the money was donated as an endowment to what is now
Harvard University. I am indebted to Sir George Johnson of
Nassau, an eminent scholar of West Indian history, for this in-

The DRY TORTUGAS are islands in the Gulf, named by
Ponce de Leon because he found so many turtles. He loaded his
boat with turtles. The name "dry" is probably used in the
seaman's sense-dry, and not awash like other shoals and low
islands. The old fort on Dry Tortugas was named in honor of
President Thomas Jefferson, and was begun in 1846. It was
held by Federal forces during the Civil War. It was at times a
hospital and a prison. It was temporarily used during the war
with Spain. It was transferred from the War to the Navy De-
partment, and was finally made a national monument under
the Department of the Interior. Bird Key was in charge of the
Department of Agriculture as a breeding place for birds.
KEY WEST is said to come from "hueso," meaning bone,
because of the piles of bones found there. This has been denied
by some, but in an early grant from Spain it was described as
Cayo Hueso, or Bone Key.
MATECUMBE was once written "Mattacomba," which may
mean "bent bushes" in Spanish. Alfredo Zayas in his Lexicog-
frafia Antillana (Antillean Lexicography) says Matecumbe
consists of rockss dangerous to navigation, which in 1662
wrecked a vessel bearing gold and silver to Spain." He also
refers to the keys as "Las Martires," the keys of the Martyrs.
This hint leads one to reflect that there may be a lot of untold
history relating to the keys in Spanish days.
The archipelago around Key West was called Pine Islands
because at one time the Carribean Pine covered the land.
KEY LARGO means "Long Key" and not "Large Key."
The word "key" itself is a modification of the Spanish "cayo,"
meaning shoal, or little island, and is probably of Basque origin.
In Hayti, Aux Cayes is the name of a city. It is French for "The


Keys" and is probably the origin of our word "Okay." It had
reference to the quality of the rum from that section.
It is hard to explain the origin of the name MARQUESAS
KEYS-the islands of the Marques. Maybe some Marques were
marooned there by pirates. Here again there may be a lot of
hidden history. A ship by that name may have been wrecked
there. Anyway, it is a neat little atoll on our barrier reef pro-
jecting into the Gulf of Mexico.
CAESAR'S CREEK was named for a black pirate by the
name of Caesar. When chased he would seek refuge in this
creek, and if pressed too hard would sink his boat in shallow
water. In the Lives and Exploits of English Highwaymen, Pi-
rates and Robbers, printed in 1839, and the Pirate's Who's Who,
Black Caesar is represented as Blackbeard's right hand man.
When pressed he was ordered to blow up their boat, called
Queen Anne's Revenge. He failed to accomplish this act, was
captured and hung in Virginia in 1718.
There is a key called Palo Alto, meaning high timber. Names
offer good hints as to the kinds of trees which once covered this
MIAMI is from the Calusa "Mayaimi," meaning "big lake."
(On one map, however, it is called Rio Ratones, "the River of
Rats.") This is the statement of Fontaneda, who was held
captive by those Indians for seventeen years. It is also referred
to as Mayaimi by other old timers. Before the natural rock-dam
was removed from the Miami River it was one big lake for a
long portion of the year.
There was once a pearl oyster bank near SOLDIER'S KEY
in Bay Biscayne. Biscayne no doubt means the same as Biscay,
an old Basque word, and the Basques probably came here long
ago on fishing trips.
MARGATE and FOWEY are old English names. It is now
known as the Fowey Rock Light, which replaced the old Cape
Florida Light. The latter is still standing and is one of the oldest
lighthouses in this country. It was partly burned by the Indians
in 1836. The keeper had been warned, so he left for safety with
his family, leaving an assistant and a negro in charge to meet
the Indians. The Indians filled the bottom of the lighthouse with

wood and fired it. The heat drove the assistant and negro out
on the balcony. The negro looked over the railing and was
promptly shot. The assistant was rescued by a government
cutter. In 1878 it was abandoned for the new Fowey Rock Light.
The word Madeira applied to MADEIRA HAMMOCK and
Bay is just another name for mahogany. It came from England
by way of the Bahamas and was applied to a mahogany-like
wood of the laurel family, once common in the Madeira Islands.
CAPE SABLE means "Sandy Cape." Middle Cape was once
called "Palm Cape" because of the big royal palms that grew
The town of Perrine was named for Dr. Perrine, who was
killed by Calusa Indians on Indian Key. INDIAN KEY was our
first port of entry. Indigo and cotton were shipped to England
by way of Indian Key.
Many think FLORIDA was so called because it is a land of
flowers. It was named because it was discovered during the
week of the Festival of Flowers. Old Ponce de Leon had little
opportunity or inclination to land to pick flowers.
The Big Bay on the West Coast south of Pavilion Key was
called PONCE DE LEON BAY. Such names as LOGGERHEAD
GARDEN COVE are easily explained, but not MAN KEY,
so on. NO NAME KEY needs no explanation. CRAWL KEYS
were so named because they were used for sponge and turtle
pens, called crawls. MAN-O-WAR BUSH was named because
the man-of-war or frigate bird roosted there. LIGNUM VITAE
KEY was named for the tree of that name. So also TORCH

A Mangrove Fence Along the Ocean Front



(With apologies to Thomas Buchanan Reed's "Drifting.")

My soul today is far away
Sailing the Floridian Bay.
My winged boat, a bird afloat,
Swims round the coral reefs remote.

Round coral peaks it sails and seeks
Blue inlets with their myriad freaks,
Where tropics show mid flower's blow
A duplicated golden glow.

Far, vague and dim the Gulf Streams
While on horizon's misty brim
With outstretched hands the gray mist
O'erlooking fair Atlantic strands.

Here Largo smiles o'er liquid miles;
And yonder, bluest of the isles,
Calm Torch Key waits her sapphire gates
Beguiling to her bright estates.

I heed not if my rippling skiff
Floats swift or slow from shore to cliff;
With dreamful eyes my spirit lies
Beside the gates of Paradise.

Beside the gates where Neptune waits
The Bay's deep swells at transient rates,
At peace I lie blown softly by
A cloud upon this liquid sky.

The day, so mild, is heaven's own child
With heaven and ocean reconciled.
The airs I feel around me steal
Are murmuring to the murmuring keel.

With dreamful eyes my spirit lies
Where summer sings and never dies.
O'er veiled with vines she grows and
Among her tropic oils and wines.

Over the rail my hand I trail
Within the shadow of the sail;
A joy intense, the cooling sense
Glides down my drowsy indolence.

Yon deep barque goes where traffic
From lands of suns to lands of snows-
This happier one, its course is run
From lands of snow to lands of sun.

The Fisher's child, with tresses wild,
Unto the smooth, bright sand beguiled,
With glowing lips she sings and skips,
Or gazes at the far-off ships.

No more, no more the worldly shore
Upbraids me with its loud uproar!
With dreamful eyes my spirit lies
Within the vales of Paradise.


IN2 N~13

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