- To Protect the Residents' Right to Quiet Enjoyment of Life
- To Plan for Enhancing Our Village Character
- To Preserve Our Community; Its People, Natural Resources, and Pride
- To Provide Basic Services to Support our Quality of Life
Islamorada, Village of Islands is located in the beautiful Florida Keys. The boundaries are from approximately Mile Marker (MM) 90 to MM 72. Islamorada is a tourism-oriented community an hour south of Miami consisting of four islands spanning 18 linear miles with a land area of approximately 3,900 acres.
Known as the Sport Fishing Capital of the World, Islamorada is a popular vacation destination enjoyed for its up-scale small-town atmosphere, scenic bay, and ocean views, sunshine, boating, fishing, locally owned restaurants, quaint shops, and galleries.
Located within an Area of Critical State Concern (ACSC), growth is limited, a 24-hour evacuation rule is maintained and there is a strong focus on the conservation of critical habitat. As part of the ACSC designation and focus on the conservation of the natural environment, the Village completed its Village-wide central wastewater collection and transmission project in 2015.
The primary challenges currently facing the Village are workforce and affordable housing, capital project planning for stormwater improvements, and acquisition of conservation lands.
A Brief History
First sighted by Spanish adventurers on May 15, 1513, the Florida Keys were named Los Martires (The Martyrs) - a name that was to prove prophetic over the next few centuries.
A Spanish treasure fleet was wrecked on the reefs of Islamorada during a hurricane in 1733. Subsequently, a wrecking industry thrived in the area from the late 1700s to the 1870s during which period Key West became the wealthiest city in the United States. The "wreckers" were paid a proportion of the value of the goods they salvaged from vessels unlucky enough to be wrecked on the reefs. Rumors abound that in many cases luck had nothing to do with it. Indians destroyed a wrecker's village at Indian Key (just off Islamorada) in 1840 and killed 6 people. This tiny island of 11 acres, the first seat of Dade County, consisted of about 40 houses, a general store, a bar, a post office and warehouse, and the Tropical Hotel with ballroom and, so they say, bowling alleys. Prior to the 1700s Indian Key had been a Spanish trading post.
In the mid to late 1800s, the first settlers arrived from the Bahamas. In the 1850s the Russell family, with their eight children, settled in Matecumbe on 160 acres. In the 1870s the Pinder family laid claim to a plot two miles south of the Russell's. They were followed by others, including the Parkers.
The Pinders, after whom one of our houses is named, opened the first canning factory for that delicacy that would soon become renowned worldwide - pineapples. The farmers also raised limes, melons, and vegetables.
In those days, real estate prices weren't what they are now. Lignumvitae Key, named for the hardwood tree lignumvitae, was purchased in 1881 for the princely sum of $170.32 - it was acquired by the State of Florida in 1970.
Henry M. Flagler began building a railroad to Key West in 1903. He filled swamps, bridged waterways, conquered jungles and then did it all again after destruction by hurricanes. Flagler rode his train to Key West in 1912.
Prior to Flagler's remarkable achievement, all transportation to the Keys was by water. The railway brought daytrippers and fishing enthusiasts, and the locals adapted to the needs of these early adventurers. In 1928, the first road opened, and the Keys began to truly flourish.
Much of the area is preserved in State Parks including Indian Key, Lignumvitae Key and the San Pedro Underwater Park, one of the 1733 galleons.
Village Boundaries & Population
According to the Florida Department of Transportation, the milepost and mile marker designations are as follows:
- South – Mile Marker 72.658
- North – Mile Marker 90.939
By charter, the Village’s boundaries extend from the West end of the Channel Two bridge (approximately Mile Marker 72.5) to the West end of the Tavernier Creek Bridge (approximately Mile Marker 90.8), including the entire islands of Plantation Key, Windley Key, Upper Matecumbe Key, Lower Matecumbe Key, and Tea Table Key, and all land filled in between the islands, all connected by U.S. One, Overseas Highway; all of the above within Monroe County, Florida.
The population of Islamorada as of the April 1, 2020, United States Census was 6,283. The estimate of the population by the United States Census Bureau on July 1, 2022, was 6,215.