In September, 2015 Brody and I made a marathon trip to Key West to photograph him at the southernmost point of the US. This was the spoken goal of the trip, but the real purpose was to photograph The Old 7 Mile Bridge at Marathon Key. During that trip, Brody and I discovered the defunct Bahia Honda Rail Bridge. Immediately after that trip I set my sights on returning and then soon forgot about it.
Earlier this year Brody and I went to Savannah and I fell in love with the history and architecture of this town. So, I planned for a return trip over the Labor Day weekend. The week before the trip, it becomes apparent that the effects of Hurricane Hermine was going to dump a lot of water in Savannah for Labor Day, so I decided to make a day trip down to the Keys.
Coincidently, this turns out to be 1 year after my first trip. Coincidently, I’m going to visit 2 bridges that were destroyed by the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane (81 years ago). And coincidently the only reason I’m heading in that direction is a hurricane that blocked my trip north. The photos below are mostly from my first trip to The Old 7 Mile Bridge. Originally known as the Knights Key-Pigeon Key-Moser Channel-Pacet Channel Bridge, was constructed from 1909 to 1912.
What I didn’t know when I left home was this notice:
The Old Seven Mile Bridge closed for repairs from July 5, 2016, to roughly April 2017. The $2 million project will reconfigure the parking lot and create a handicapped-accessible walkway from the old bridge under the new bridge to the ocean side. It will include adding picnic pavilions and scenic overlooks.
While access to the bridge for the North was blocked, there is a 1 mile section of the bridge accessible from Little Duck Key on the South. The section of the old bridge seems to only be used as a fishing pier, but I’ll take what I can get. By the way, this bridge is far enough away from towns and light pollution that the stars in the sky were amazing. It’s been along time since I’ve seen such a magnificent display. In any case, I was able to grab these pre-dawn and sunrise photos from the old bridge.
Next on my list was the Bahia Honda Rail Bridge. It is a derelict railroad bridge in the lower Florida Keys connecting Bahia Honda Key with Spanish Harbor Key. Originally part of the Overseas Railway, the state of Florida purchased it after the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane and converted it for automobile use in 1938 After a replacement Bahia Honda Bridge was opened in 1972 two spans of the bridge were removed to accommodate boat traffic. Another impact of Henry Flagler, the Bahia Honda bridge was built as part of the Overseas Railroad. Reference Wikipedia;
The first couple of photos are from the southern end of the bridge that I took on my first trip and the remaining I took from the north side at the Bahia Honda State Park. (dog tolerant not dog friendly)
By the way if you ever visit, the best place to shoot this is from the South where you can climb to bridge height and really capture it’s deteriorating state
In the State Park, they have a bridge section established as on overlook but it’s fenced off at least 100 yards from the end of the bridge and then they have a secondary fence blocking your view of the actual Bahia Honda Rail Bridge. Why, I have not idea but it’s not worth the effort to walk up there.
So, is it worth it to drive almost 350 miles round trip just to photograph a couple of bridges?
Well, when you consider that for the price of a tank of can, I could revisit a couple of bucket list locations, see stars like I haven’t seen since I was a kid on the farm, spend the day with the hound, visit a couple of beaches and walk about 10 miles I’m satisfied I got my monies worth.
Even better, during this trip I learned about a couple of places and things that makes me want to come back. Hopefully, before another entire year slips by.