Sophie Mendleson, of Washington, D.C.,
gets in a morning run on the old Seven
Mile Bridge. The bridge, which was built
from 1909 to 1912 for Henry Flagler’s
East Coast Railway, connects Knight’s
Key to Little Duck Key.
When oil magnate
Henry Flagler’s East Coast Railway
reached Key West, Fla., in 1912, it was hailed by
some as the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” Others
christened it “Flagler’s Folly.” The railroad was
already in bankruptcy by the time the great Labor
Day hurricane of 1935 pushed 40 miles of track
into the ocean, sinking the railroad for good.
Since then, the only way to traverse
the Keys, a chain of islands stretching
southwest from the southern tip of
mainland Florida, has been the
reliable but perennially congested U.S.
Highway 1—that is, until the Florida
Keys Overseas Heritage Trail (FKOHT)
began taking shape over the past decade.
Approximately 76 miles of the in-progress
passageway are complete. Already the