A real Florida Ghost Town….

Flamingo in Monroe county no longer has any residents, a true ghost town. Townsite is located in Everglades National Park. From the east Park entrance (near Florida City) head down the main road 38 miles to present-day Flamingo (this is a marina and campground area) At the far end of Campground Loop C is the Coastal Prairie Trail. This is a hiking trail only, no vehicles (don’t try riding a bike down this trail unless you plan on carrying it or floating it most of the way and besides its illegal). The old town of Flamingo is approx 4 1/2 miles down the trail, near Slagle ditch. Beware, the trail may not be well marked or easy to follow in places, and may be partially underwater during the summer. Take caution and be prepared, wildlife may be encountered along the way. All that remains today is coquina rock building foundation, 1928 Geodetic Marker, possibly more foundations out in the brush.

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Flamingo was first settled around 1892, although Tequesta Indians had lived in the area prior to that. Duncan Brady, a New Englander, was one of the first residents. The town received the name Flamingo in 1893 when a post office was established, with Howell Low as postmaster. Back then flamingos could be seen along the coast in large numbers. Daily life there in the Everglades could be rough going. Naturalist Leverett White Brownell visited Flamingo in 1893, describing the village of 38 shacks on stilts as infested with fleas and mosquitos. He claimed to have seen an oil lamp extinguished by a cloud of mosquitos. He also stated that flea powder was the “staff of life” and that the cabins were thickly sooted from the use of smudge pots. By 1900 about 50 families lived there and it had a Monroe County school. Early settlers included the Irwins, Roberts, and Douthits. Fishing, farming, charcoal making and plume hunting (hunting exotic birds for their feathers) were the area’s economy. Plume hunting brought the people over to Flamingo and led to its downfall. Audubon warden Guy Bradley was killed in 1905 by plume hunters near the town. Public rage over the murder directly led to federal legislation outlawing the practice. The post office closed in 1909 and by 1910 only three houses remained occupied. Flamingo had a brief resurgence during prohibition, becoming a haven for outlaw moonshiners. When Everglades National Park was created in 1947, the Flamingo site became part of the park.

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