Historic 7-Mile Bridge (original)
What’s the Florida Keys #1 tourist attraction? By far it’s the incredible 7-Mile Bridge! But wait… believe it or not there’s two 7-Mile Bridges!
The older original 7-Mile Bridge was used until 1982, it connected Knight’s Key to the Lower Keys. It was one of the longest bridges in the world! The original name was “Knights Key-Pigeon Key-Moser Channel-Pacet Channel Bridge”… wow, was that a mouth full! Many thanks to those who changed it to the “Seven Mile Bridge”. The bridge was badly damaged by a 1935 hurricane and refurbished by the government as an automobile bridge. Look and you’ll see that the guard rails are made from former railway tracks!
The black pipe on the side of the bridge in the photo below was the freshwater lifeline to the Keys for many years. The bridge also had a swing span that opened to allow passage of boat traffic near Pigeon Key. The vast majority of the original bridge still exists, used as fishing piers and access to Pigeon Key.
The bridges narrow width contributed to its demise. In fact, I remember as a child traveling in our Chevy Chase Griswold Family Vacation station wagon folding in the car side mirror so that the opposing traffic wouldn’t hit it… which happened way to often! Today it’s relegated to foot & bicycle traffic unable to support the former tourist tram that traveled it for years.
You can find the northern end of this historic monument to perseverance on US-1 South at Mile Marker 46.8 heading down to Key West.