Florida Keys Memorial – Islamorada FL

Description

Also known as the Hurricane Monument, this limestone monument marks the mass grave of the over 300 people killed in one of the deadliest hurricanes to hit the Florida Keys in 1936.

“Standing just east of U.S. 1 at mile marker 82 in Islamorada, near where Islamorada’s post office stood, is a simple monument designed by the Florida Division of the Federal Art Project and constructed using Keys limestone (“keystone”) by the Works Progress Administration. It was unveiled in 1937 with more than 4,000 people attending. A frieze depicts palm trees amid curling waves, fronds bent in the wind. In front of the sculpture a ceramic-tile mural of the Keys covers a stone crypt, which holds victims’ ashes from the makeshift funeral pyres. The memorial was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places on March 16, 1995.”   (wikipedia)

The plaque on the memorial reads as follows:

The Florida Keys Memorial, known locally as the “Hurricane Monument,” was built to honor hundreds of American veterans and local citizens who perished in the “Great Hurricane” on Labor Day, September 2, 1935. Islamorada sustained winds of 200 miles per hour (322 kph) and a barometer reading of 26.36 inches (66.95 cm) for many hours on that fateful holiday; most local buildings and the Florida East Coast Railway were destroyed by what remains the most savage hurricane on record. Hundreds of WWI veterans who had been camped in the Matecumbe area while working on the construction of US Highway One for the Works Progress Administration (WPA) were killed. In 1937 the cremated remains of approximately 300 people were placed within the tiled crypt in front of the monument. The monument is composed of native keystone, and its striking frieze depicts coconut palm trees bending before the force of hurricane winds while the waters from an angry sea lap at the bottom of their trunks. Monument construction was funded by the WPA and regional veterans’ associations. Over the years the Hurricane Monument has been cared for by local veterans, hurricane survivors, and descendants of the victims.”   (Source: http://easthampton-ct.patch.com/)

Source notes

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1935_Labor_Day_hurricane
http://www.keyshistory.org/hurrmemorial.html
http://easthampton-ct.patch.com/groups/around-town/p/the-ferocious-labor-day-hurricane-of-1935_ece042a2

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Location Info


Overseas Highway
Islamorada, FL 33036

Coordinates: 24.917076, -80.636039

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