duck key

An Information Guide to Duck Key in the Florida Keys

























DUCK KEY ONLINE NEWS - Duck Key's Historic Shield Signs


Most observers will recognize that the island's arched bridges, its ocean flushing canals, and the protective coral barrier which guards the ocean front are unique to Duck Key.

Duck Key's historic shield signs are also unique to the island. In the 1950s the only feature along the Overseas Highway identifying the island were two concrete shields which told visitors they were entering Duck Key.



The entranceway gate modeled after the famed St. Augustine gate had no text on it telling guests they had arrived at Duck Key. Instead two concrete sign shields told travelers they were entering Duck Key.

The shield signs utilized the trade mark or service mark (the words Duck Key together with an illustration of a duck sitting on a key) owned by developer John Newkirk.


It is not known how many signs existed initially on Duck Key or where the concept of sign shields started. A sign identifying the Administration Building still exists as does the sign identifying the Truman Bridge. The Truman Bridge sign was repaired some years ago by residents Viki and Fred Bucholtz.

The original developer of Duck Key, Bryan Newkirk, was involved in the building of Coral Gables. Most street signs in Coral Gables as well as major streets at minor intersections are identified on small white cement block located on the ground. Possibly Newkirk adapted the concept of concrete street signs and came up with the idea of utilizing shield signs to identify locations on Duck Key.


The United States has utilizing designs with shields in various forms since the late eighteenth century. Highways have been identified using a basic shield outline and a number since the 1920s.


Some years ago, the shield signs at the entraceway to Duck Key were placed on wooden pedistals anchored to the wall. During recent repairs to the wall by the Behringer/Northview Group, the Duck Key Property Owners' Association rescued the historic entrance signs and moved them to the residential islands.


One additional sign has been located at a private residence on Indies Drive on Center Island. See image below. Any text identifying its original location has been lost through time though the sign has been decoratively painted.


Postcard Image below shows entrance and Overseas Highway. No mangroves are visible along the side of the road. Old electric poles are visible as his a Duck Key shield sign similar to bottom image.




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