Historic Pigeon Key

Pigeon Key

Visitors to Pigeon Key venture back in time to a tiny island that played a tremendous role in the Florida Keys of today.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this five-acre property served as a home base for railroad workers erecting and later operating the final installment of Henry M. Flagler's Key West Extension of the Florida East Coast (FEC) Railway: the Old Seven-Mile Bridge.

Flagler's railway made the Keys accessible from mainland Florida, and his Seven-Mile Bridge was considered an engineering feat. The bridge is, like Pigeon Key, listed on the National Historic Register. But with a more modern Seven-Mile Bridge serving motorists, Flagler's feat today is utilized as a fitness path for cyclists and pedestrians.

Pigeon Key

Pigeon Key is nestled beneath this trestle at the edge of Marathon, and its modest wood frame structures have experienced a renaissance.

Largely colored in Flagler's trademark yellow, the cottages are a charge of the not-for-profit Pigeon Key Foundation, which manages the island and works to preserve its rich heritage.

Among the foundation's completed projects: Transforming one Pigeon Key structure into a railroad museum. Here, on view to the public, are historic artifacts from the FEC Railway, including concrete "bones" that served to test the strength of mixtures used in erecting the Old Seven-Mile Bridge. Photographs feature the trains of the railway, the making of the original bridge, the buildings of Pigeon Key, and the island's former inhabitants.

Pigeon Key

In 2013, the island converted from an electrical system to solar-powered energy, making the educational facility and visitor attraction energy efficient.

A 105- by 11-foot solar array was installed to satisfy nearly 95 percent of the island's electrical needs. For more than 100 years, electrical power on Pigeon Key was generated by steam or fossil fuels. A sense of environmental responsibility motivated the change and today, two banks of 24-cell batteries that each generate 48 volts store electricity to feed 240-volt inverters that power the tiny island.

Pigeon Key

Pigeon Key is accessible by walking or bicycling the reopened Old Seven Mile Bridge (an approximately 2.2-mile span) or by passenger train, which departs from the Pigeon Key train depot at 1090 Overseas Highway.

Train service departs at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Admission to the island including passenger train, museum access and guided tours is $25 per person, $20 ages 4-12, $23 for local residents, or $15 for those walking or biking. Find more information at

Walkers and bikers via “Old 7” can pay to join a tour online, and must arrive 10 minutes in advance of their booked tour time.

Proceeds benefit the Pigeon Key Foundation and its preservation and restoration efforts. Please call the gift shop at 305-743-5999 ahead of arrival to confirm tour departures.

Pigeon Key

Pigeon Key Foundation & Marine Science Center
P. O. Box 500130, Marathon, FL 33050

Educational Group Inquiries
Sarah Humphrey

Gift Shop and Train Depot
1090 Overseas Highway
Trains Depart at 10 a.m.,11:30 a.m.,1 p.m., 2:30 p.m.