100 years ago, the Key West Extension of Henry Flagler's Florida East Coast Railway was completed, connecting Key West with the Florida mainland via a train trestle that traveled 128 miles over the Florida Keys. Known as the Overseas Railroad, it was an engineering marvel, and its most stupendous section was the Seven Mile Bridge, a viaduct crossing a seven mile-wide water gap just south of Marathon, and passing over the little island of Pigeon Key. Now a National Historic Landmark, it is a relic of a bygone era, and a quickly deteriorating older sister to the new Seven Mile Bridge, a modern highway built directly next to it in 1982.
A group of preservationists and bridge lovers are coming to Old Seven's rescue, with dreams of turning it into something akin to New York's High Line or the Walkway Over the Hudson in upstate NY, both spectacularly successful projects. They've got a fantastic location, an iconic and soaring structure, and a rich history to work with, but they still have to come up with a renovation plan (which is being worked on now) and $16 to $20 million to fund it. After decades of a quiet and gradual decline since its replacement, it may finally be time for the renewal of Old Seven. What do you think should be done with the old bridge?
· Florida Keys group is tries to rescue Old Seven [Miami Herald]
· Preserving the old seven mile bridge [Friends of Old Seven]
Images from Friends of Old Seven