Monroe Station

Monroe Station
Monroe Station
Monroe Station
(added 2000 Historic Register - Building - #00000427)
Junction of Tamiami Trail and Loop Road., Ochopee

Monroe Station served as a way point for people using US 41 to cross the Big Cypress Swamp, Miami to Naples or the other way. Built in 1925, it was used as a way station until 1949. Motor cycle patrols would be sent out to look for wayward motorists. Later on, it was the only place you could get gas or something to eat when crossing Florida at the lower end of the state. During the early 70's, it was the only place to get gas, a cup of coffee, a repair or use a telephone in that area of the Big Cypress Swamp. The property was used for many years, as a place to park and store Swamp Buggies, (now known as ORVs). After the Government created the Big Cypress Preserve, Joe Lord the owner was forced to remove his gas tanks, for reasons of pollution prevention and this lead to Monroe Station not being profitable anymore. The Big Cypress National Preserve took over ownership and like other properties it has taken over, stopped doing any maintenance on it. For a while it rented out space for ORV storage, but now it has stopped that. Plans call for it to be used as a ORV tow vehicle parking area in the future.

There were three structures like Monroe Station along US 41. One of these three structures was chosen for restoration, but it blew down in a hurricane years ago. Monroe Station  has been designated on the National Register of Historic Places, year 2000. That was done without the knowledge of the Superintendent, by NPS personnel in Atlanta. The National Park Services is determining what portion of it can be saved, because of its poor condition. They are also applying for a grant from the Department of Transportation to restore it.

Below are copies of the Menu, from the time that Joe Lord was the owner:

Monroe Statiion Menu Front View
Outside Menu

Monroe Station Menu Inside View
Inside Menu

What does Monroe Station look like today? Sad, Sad, Sad looking. I don't even want to show you! If you have to see, click Here for before Hurricane Wilma. Click Here to see after Hurricane Wilma, which is the latest pictures.

What should the future bring to Monroe Station?
Monroe Station could be returned to a traditional use in transportation. The building is unsafe and would take a big effort ($$$$), for it to be returned to use. It could be replaced on a smaller scale, but with a building that has a similar look to Monroe Station in its prime. This building could include the Florida Game Commission check in station, bathrooms for personnel and visitors, trash collection containers and maybe an area for memorabilia showing the traditional uses that Big Cypress Swamp has had. Along with the planned parking for ORV tow vehicles, longer term parking should be accommodated, for ORVs. This would make for a safer highway through the Big Cypress National Preserve, by eliminating the need to tow ORVs every time they are used.
The ORV registration process could be moved from the visitor center, to Monroe Station. This would remove the mixing of ORVs and automobiles in the same parking lot, (which eventually will lead to someone getting hurt).

Return to Home Page            Story by Steve
June, 2005, Rev Oct. 30, 2005, Rev Nov 30, 2005