The mission of the Florida Keys Land and sea Trust is "To preserve the natural environment of the Florida Keys and encourage and sponsor public participation and education."
The Florida Keys Land Trust was created in 1976 by a group of concerned citizens in an effort to save the hardwood hammocks of the Florida Keys. These tropical woodlands, called hammocks, contain both unique hardwood species such as Lignum Vitae and Jamaica Dogwood along with native thatch palms that grow nowhere else in the United States. In August of 1978, the Florida Keys Land Trust was incorporated as a non-profit organization (the name was changed to the Florida Keys Land and Sea Trust several years later) for the purpose of preservation, conservation and the restoration of rare and endangered areas of the Florida Keys.
Over the next ten years small parcels of Keys property were preserved. In 1989 the Trust purchased the 63 acres known as Crane Point, saving this unique piece of Florida from scheduled development as a complex of private homes and a shopping mall. Crane Point is undisputedly an ecological and cultural treasure and is now the largest and most important property owned by the Trust. Sheltered amidst its tropical forest are numerous rare and endangered species as well as unique archaeological and historical riches. The 63 acres is home to a large thatch palm hammock, a hardwood hammock, a mangrove forest, tidal lagoons, wetland ponds and the fauna that is associated with these various ecosystems.
Crane Point harbors evidence of human use dating back well over seven hundred years. The first documented permanent settlers to this particular property were George and Olivia Adderley, who lived here from 1902 until 1949. To learn more about them, please click on the link to the Adderley house.
Crane Point is named for Francis and Mary Crane, a Massachusetts couple who purchased it in 1949. At that time approximately 600 people lived in the middle keys along with a profusion of mosquitoes. The Cranes built a causeway to Big Rachel Key where they built their home. The house was a very unique design for its time, with walls of windows and large roof overhangs. It was the first modern house in the area. Today it houses the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary offices.
Francis and Mary Crane were ardent conservationists and horticulturists who worked to preserve the hammock and enhance it with flowering exotic trees and shrubs. The family retained the property until the late 1970's.
Crane Point went through several owners and was being prepared for commercial development when it was purchased for preservation by the Florida Keys Land and Sea Trust in 1989. The Museum of Natural History of the Florida Keys and the Florida Keys Children's Museum were established at Crane Point in 1990 and 1991. The museums present the opportunity for ongoing historical interpretation, environmental preservation and educational programs.
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