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Transportation Infrastructure

Florida Keys Hurricane 1935

Snake Creek

Snake Creek now officially separates Plantation Key and Windley Key. On the Bay and Ocean sides, Snake Creek splits in two, like the forked tongue of a snake, likely making it identifiable by boats historically.

What is now officially the end of Plantation Key had been a separate Key, called Snake Creek Key, that was separated from Plantation Key by another creek, called Little Snake Creek.

Little Snake Creek had been about 2 km from Snake Creek. It was blocked by the railroad dike fill that officially joined Snake Creek Key into Plantation Key.

Figure 1:  Portion of May 1935 nautical chart showing Snake Creek Key (center, unlabeled) bordered by Snake Creek (center left) and Little Snake Creek (center right, unlabeled), after the railroad dike blocked Little Snake Creek to make Snake Creek Key part of Plantation Key (right). Florida Bay is above, the Atlantic Ocean is below. Soundings (depths) are in feet.

Although blocked by the railroad dike, both ends of Little Snake Creek were still there in 1935, and also appear in the following 1947 aerial photograph:

Figure 2:  Aerial view of Snake Creek Key, 1947. Snake Creek splits in two in Florida Bay (upper-left). Little Snake Creek is shown on right. The highway dike blocks Little Snake Creek from flowing, and constricts the flow of Snake Creek.
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Figure 3:  Preceding 1947 aerial photograph zoomed in, showing Little Snake Creek, from Florida Bay (red arrow above) to the Atlantic Ocean (red arrow below).

Zooming out a little shows where a natural bypass was on Snake Creek Key:

Figure 4:  Ebb-current water flow direction of a natural bypass area on Snake Creek Key before blockage by the Keys highway dike.

This provides a good example of a natural Florida Keys water bypass, henceforth referred to as the Snake Creek Key Bypass.


The following aerial photographs are from TIF files, downloaded for free, from USGS Earth Explorer. GIS programs or Gimp can be used to view and edit TIF files. Captions below list the following Earth Explorer Data Sets:

APSF: Aerial Photographs Single Frame
DOQ: Digital Orthophoto Quadrangle
HRO: High Resolution Orthoimagery

Figure A1:  Snake Creek Key Bypass (center-left), and Little Snake Creek (right), both blocked by the highway dike. Florida Bay above, Atlantic Ocean below. APSF, 1950-12-20.

Figure A2:  Little Snake Creek. Florida Bay is above, Atlantic below. The Bay side of the Creek is apparently pooling (seems to be blocked near the dike) on newly cleared cadastral plot. Notice possible Bay-side creek from upper-left to center-right approaching Little Snake Creek (on opposite side of dike), which was probably a tributary of Little Snake Creek to release storm ebb-current to Ocean. APSF, 1964-04-26.

Figure A3:  A tall radio antenna, with three sets of guy wires, has been built (top-center). Key Lime Pie store is on the left (now Drift Boutique). Little Snake Creek (lower-left) has eastern bend filled, and portion after that routed straight to highway dike opposite the possible Bay side creek (also apparently straightened), as if a bridge or culvert would go there (culvert would be too small, but better than nothing). The original bayside Little Snake Creek, flowing into separate cadastral plot, is still pooling (right). APSF, 1969-11-19.

Figure A4:  Creek in Snake Creek Key Bypass (upper-left) extends and meanders south, visible again reaching the highway dike, then again (faintly) on opposite side of dike (toward Atlantic). APSF, 1970-11-23.

Figure A5:  Snake Creek Key Bypass (left). APSF, 1971-02-10.

Figure A6:  Recreational boats, northern shore of the Snake Creek Key Bypass. HRO, 2006-02-02.
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Bridge Design
Marine Navigation
Snake Creek (this page)
Windley Key
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