Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Perky Tower

Oddly enough I found myself following a convoy of pick up trucks to the bat tower on Sugarloaf Key.


They belonged to the modern Mosquito Control District and when I talked to them I discovered that in fact they were boning up on their own history.


They had been in Key West for a meeting and were driving back to their offices in Key Largo. Their boss wanted them to see this fascinating piece of Keys history.


The bat tower is one of three left in the world from a design sold in the earlry 20th century as a tool to fight mosquitoes. Charles Perky wanted to develop these mangroves and realize his fortune and he heard that bats eat mosquitoes, so he ordered a tower to be erected here in what was to have been the village of Perky, Florida.


The bats left town, Perky went bust and followed suit and the tower was left behind to rot slowly in the sun and salt air.


Still, some animals find it useful, for shade if nothing else.


As you can see Perky remains nothing more than a name on a chart to this day.


The tower is still intact but slowly disintegrating.








An osprey nest!


The mosquito people left Cheyenne and myself to our lonely vigil at the tower until some visitors rolled up...


...drove around, posing for a second and then drove away. What else can they do? There are no signs, no useful informational billboards, nothing... It's amazing these people managed to find the place at all, up a hidden turn off next to the Sugarloaf Motel.


As they drove away the photographer twisted round for a last look at this lost piece of old Florida.


The Bat Tower of Sugarloaf Key.



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