Thursday, May 1, 2014

Bat Tower

Technically it's also known as Perky's Bat Tower but for most people who even known about it, it's the weird wooden tower on Sugarloaf Key next to the airfield.
The Bat Tower has been on the register of historic places since 1982 and as far as I know it is one of three such structures left in the United States, the two others are in Texas, but this here one in the Keys is unmarked, unloved and unnoticed at the end of a short paved road that leaves Highway One next to the Sugarloaf Lodge and strikes out north toward the Sugarloaf Airfield.
 
Not much has changed since my last recorded visit here on the Bonneville, but I guess slowly and certainly the wooden tower must be deteriorating... Key West Diary Bat Tower 2009 
Richter Clyde Perky was the name of the developer who had this structure trucked down and assembled here in 1929. It was supposed to house bats that would fly around and eat the mosquitoes that plagued Perky's plans for development of Sugarloaf Key. The bats were duly installed inside the tower but they were not happy and flew away.  Development did not happen, at least until the development, post World War Two of cheap air conditioning and the tower remains as a monument to what might have been.
 
It's too bad actually as bats really are excellent insect managers as they eat them by the ton and their presence would be a boon in places like this, but modern histrionics make it seem like bats really do suck blood and get tangled in peoples' hair so they get no credit for any good they might do.
 
There's an osprey nest  on top and every year it gets bigger as ospreys come back to their nests and add twigs every year. I did not see any this visit but they like to nest high up so the tower is perfect for their purposes, if not for bats.
I did mention the tower is close by the airstrip and as we stood in the shade underneath the tower we could hear a sudden flapping noise in the sky above and a couple of parachutes came flinging themselves through the sky at the tree line that masks the airstrip. Its a popular past time around here that I think is far more reckless than riding a motorcycle.
I will keep returning to Perky's Folly until all that is left is a pile of disassembled shingles.

3 comments:

ralph alan said...



It is unmarked, unloved and unnoticed at the end of a short paved road that leaves Highway One, as you say. but many local people have made love there. “Or so I have
heard”.

Trobairitz said...

I wonder why the bats didn't stay. Maybe they didn't like their forced rehousing and found their own new home.

In the summer you can usually see bats flying around in these parts. Keeps the bugs down, so I am good with it.

Robert Wilson said...

I've been wanting to put up a couple of "Bat houses" for years, but the local community keeps shooting that idea down.