"Gazing Toward Key Biscayne, Then & Now, and Pondering."


CONSIDER the view toward Key Biscayne as, say, my 11 year-old Dad once knew it, and day before yesterday.


In 1941, there was no bridge, and foot or bike would take you only as far as the seawall. Thereafter, available choices for further progress involved swimming, or a boat.

Plans had been made to start building a bridge to the chain of islands that year, as successful negotiations had been concluded between the County and the Matheson family, but when a small Naval base in Hawaii by the name of “Pearl Harbor” suddenly leapt from relative obscurity to national obsession, it went right “out of people’s heads.”  Thereafter, America became heavily engaged in foreign affairs for four years, more or less, during which time it temporarily lost its focus on the bridge, altogether. The country did learn, however, how very proud it truly had a right to be of its young men and women that had stepped forward in such numbers, and fought so hard and well.  (They earned a place as the “Great Generation,” and part of their greatness was their eager willingness to pass along that mantle.)

So 1947 became the year that work finally commenced on the bridge, beginning with the purchase of the land on which the toll plaza has always sat, from the Estate of James Deering. (At some point after his first massive purchase from pioneer Mary Brickell, he had picked up the unbroken span of bay front stretching to the north from his estate (or at least, that which was then available for sale, which was nearly all of it). His property reached as far as the far side of where the Rickenbacker Causeway now begins.)

And the rest, as they say, is our history.

The notion that “change is a constant” suggests, misleadingly, that it is a consistent and predictable variable that may be foreseen and “managed,”, and that any day now,  in the natural order of things, it is likely to stop blowing our minds, completely. Ain’t gonna happen!

Thank you.

(Photo on left by Gleason W. Romer.)

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