Indian Key was in the early-1800s home to a restaurant, saloon, the Tropical Hotel, a nine-pin bowling alley, and all the shops, wharves, and warehouses needed to accommodate a thriving wrecking village. It is coming to life again, this time virtually, via a narrated walking tour with accompanying historic images. Walk Indian Key is available through a free app, Florida Stories, at, the Google Play Store or iStore.

Residents and visitors can now learn more about this storied 11-acre island, an island that was briefly named a county seat of the newly formed Dade County. The narrated tour, with 12 stops on the island, delves into the rise and fall of the community, the 1840 attack by Indians during the Seminole War, and its most notorious resident, John Jacob Housman.

“Even if you think you know the island’s tremendous history, odds are that while listening to Walk Indian Key, you will hear a story or two you have never heard,” said Brad Bertelli, Foundation curator, who selected the historic stops, wrote the narrative and compiled the accompanying photos.

Walk Indian Key is a unique Upper Keys experience developed by Florida Keys History and Discovery Foundation (FKHDF) in partnership with and funding provided by the Florida Humanities Council and the Division of State, Department of Cultural Affairs, and with support from the Florida State Parks.

The island is accessible via kayak or small watercraft. The tour features 12 stops, starting at the Park Pavilion and takes listeners through the town square, home ruins, Housman’s gravesite as well as the observation town, post office ruins and a final stop with a view of Alligator Reef Lighthouse.

“If you can’t get out to the island, listen to the app then head to Keys History & Discovery Center on the property of the Islander Resort, where you will see a model of Indian Key circa 1840,” Bertelli said.

Florida Stories supports the creation of cultural, historical, and architectural walking tours for communities across the state of Florida. The Florida Stories app allows users to learn about the history of some of Florida’s most unique towns at their own pace and on their own schedule.

Florida Stories is designed to:

  • explore the history and heritage of Florida
  • increase knowledge about and appreciation of local communities
  • connect small communities on a statewide platform
  • create an immersive humanities program that is both fun and educational
  • create sustainable and walkable cultural tourism products
  • build collaboration between community partners

This is the second walking tour created by the Foundation with FHC. Walk Historic Islamorada was launched one year ago and is one of the top downloaded walks of the more than 30 walking tour locations available on the app. Other walks including St. Augustine, Tampa’s Ybor City, Tallahassee, Downtown Miami, and Key West.