did Duck Key get its name?
historians believe the island's name came from its
unusual shape. Aerial views of the island show the shape
of a duck .
the past the island has been inhabited by many
double-crested cormorants called "ducks" and a variety of
other birds. Some historians attribute the island's name
to these cormorants.
Audubon's portrayed such double-crested cormorants in his
book, The Birds of America. Audubon recounts
visiting many mangrove islands but does not give all
the 26th of April 1832, I and my party visited several
small Keys, not many miles distant from the harbour in
which our vessel lay [Indian Key]. Mr. Thruston
had given us his beautiful barge, and accompanied us with
his famous pilot, fisherman and hunter, Mr. Egan."
1832 Duck Key was one of the few keys to have human
inhabitants - the Howe family worked the salt ponds.
Since Audubon's journey took him by Duck Key several
times and since the island was inhabited it's not
inconceivable he stopped by to explore "Duck" Key.
that day which was Audubon's 47th birthday, he painted
the cormorant he saw.
a later reference in his Ornithological Biography,
Vol III, p 510, Audubon does writes that he visited Duck
Key, but this account is about another bird.
the 1st of May 1832, while rambling over some large
and partially submersed islets of the Floridas called
Duck Keys [Duck Key, the Tom's Harbor Islands, and
possibly other small islets now join by the Overseas
Highway], scantily covered with bushes and some
mangroves, I saw a good number of these birds [The
Semipalated Snipe or Willet] in company with the
Great Marbled Godwit. . . . A few days after my visit
to the Duck Keys, some nests containing eggs were
found on other islets not far distant. .
information on historic references to Duck Key go to
Place Names on Duck Key
original Indies Inn has undergone many changes under
various ownerships since the 1950's and after extensive
renovation in 1986 is called Hawk's Cay.
longer can one drive down Duck Key's Canal Street or
stroll beside a part of old Water Road? Where are they
you say? The first master map of Duck Key produced by
island developer, Bryan Newkirk in the 1950s shows that
not only have island street names changed, but many roads
have been reshaped or abandoned in years gone
original Newkirk Street has become Duck Key Drive and
Bimini Drive. Canal Street is now called Indies Drive.
Bryan Street and Eleanor Road have become Bahama Drive
and Jamaica. Evidence of an earlier Water Street which
ran down the middle of Yacht Club and Plantation Islands
can still be seen. Gone are Gene Otto Street named for
the Key West artist and architect who designed Duck Key's
bridges, and Cothron Street named after the Islamorada
contractor responsible for excavating Duck Key's canals
and building its roadways .
the early 1960s the road entrance to the resort Inn ran
along the shoreline side of the marina where the present
day condo villas and conch marina villas have been built
and curved around passed the Indies Inn and continued on
passed Lake Lucille [Yacht Harbor]. This road was
called Malecon and named after the famous Malecon Street
running along the shoreline of Havana, Cuba. The start of
this road still exists and can be found next to
commercial building housing the Marine Bank and Duck Key
Island is little changed, though people today pass down a
Drive and not a Street. Only the island names themselves
and Lake Lucille named for Lucille, Bryan Newkirk's wife
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386 East Seaview Drive
Duck Key, Florida 33050