Thursday, March 30, 2017

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 292

Long Key Viaduct, Key West, Florida, ca. early 1930s

This Linen-Type postcard has a color tinted picture of the Over-sea extension bridge between the Florida mainland and Kay West.  It has the number F245 on the front and on the reverse is 13622 N.  It is an unused card made in the U.S.A. by E. C. Kropp Co. of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  The blurb on the reverse of the card states in part “this viaduct consists of 100 semi-circular arches, each 50 feet wide.  It was one of the first great bridges to be built of concrete.”  Linen-Type cards were produced and popular between 1931 and 1959.  I unexpectedly found this card and a few others at a model train show recently.

Henry Flagler (1830-1913) a wealthy businessman was seeking a warmer climate for his first wife who was ill.  He took an interest in Florida and began developing resort hotels and railroads along its eastern coast.  Prior to this time he had been part of Rockefeller, Andrews and Flagler and also a founder of Standard Oil.   The idea for the bridge was dubbed “Flagler’s Folly” in the beginning.  Construction for this viaduct was announced in 1905 and the bridge operated between 1912 and 1935.   At one point over 4,000 men were employed to work on the project with the total cost than $50 million. 

This project took 7 years to complete and was threatened in 1906, 1909, and 1910 by hurricanes then mostly destroyed by a hurricane in 1935.   The rail service was discontinued after the hurricane in 1935.  Later the bridge was redesigned for use by the as an auto traffic highway.  The current bridge opened in 1982 and was built from precast, pre-stressed concrete sections.  

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