P.O. Box 1052
Islamorada, FL 33036
The crew of Henry Flagler originally quarried the Windley Key Fossil
Reef State Geologic Site from 1908 until 1912. The rock was used
as fill for the railroad being built in the Keys. Later the rock
was cut to create keystone, a polished decorative stone.
The flat walls left by the quarrying activity reveled an ancient
coral reef. By studying the walls surface, you can identify
and compare the corals to todays modern reef. The rock here
is called Key Largo Limestone and consists of thirty percent corals
and a seventy percent mix of algae skeletons, shells and sediment.
One: About 180 degrees from the start, is a stonecutter. The
cutter would slice the huge blocks of limestone into slabs a few
inches thick. It used a cable to do the cutting instead of a saw
Also note how the plants and trees are able to grow without soil.
The limestone is porous and the roots are able to find water in
the rock. Leaf litter decays rapidly in this tropic like environment
and is absorbed quickly by the plants, leaving little to remain
Two: The Alison Fahrer Environmental Education Center stands
over the quarry. The center houses information on the geology and
history of Windley Key. To the left of the Center is a channel cutter
machine. This machine would drive two chisels spaced several feet
apart down into the rock to create blocks. The blocks were then
cut into slices for keystone.