Islamorada, Florida: Wrong Way Hurricane Monument

A granite memorial to the hundreds who died in the Sep. 2, 1935, hurricane -- and it shelters their cremated remains! The palm trees in the relief are bent the wrong way, some say, toward the storm.
Address:
US Hwy 1, Islamorada, FL
Directions:
On the east side of US Hwy 1 at milepost 82. Upper Matecumbe Key.
Admission:
Free
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
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Visitor Tips and News About Wrong Way Hurricane Monument

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Wrong Way Hurricane Monument. Wrong Way Hurricane Monument

This is a very beautiful monument. We arrived right at 12:00 to hear the chimes from the nearby church. I'm so happy to have experienced this on our trip.

[Mary Hess, 02/12/2010]
Wrong Way Hurricane Monument

I hate to get so picky BUT... during hurricanes the wind WILL snap back and forth -- it's not a constant rush the sea in one direction. So saying that the "palm trees sculpted into the monument blow toward the storm instead of away from it" is what would have happened during the storm -- it just depends on WHEN you would have observed the trees.

The Islamorada monument is a tribute to the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane (the Weather Channel's #1 Storm of the Century). It was one of only two category 5 hurricanes to hit the USA, it contained the highest sustained winds (estimated 200+ mph sustained), a 15 foot storm surge, and the lowest barometeric sea-level pressure ever measured in the USA (892 millibars/26.35 inches).

In my humble opinion the REALLY spooky thing about the monument to the hurricane is NOT that it shows the trees blowing the "wrong direction" but that it contains the cremated remains of over 300 storm victims (almost the entire population of Islamorada in 1935). The storm victims were WWI veterans and civilians working on a New Deal project to build a bridge to replace a ferry crossing for a highway from Miami to Key West.

[Greg Brown, 11/29/2000]
Wrong Way Hurricane Monument

While you are checking out the giant lobster in Islamorada, also look on the east side of Rt. 1 for the wrong way hurricane monument. (I'm sorry, I forgot to note the mile post, but it's within a few miles of the lobster, on the same side of the road.) It faces south just off the road. It's made of stone, with flag poles, etc. It honors hundreds who died about a century ago when a huge hurricane washed out most of the island, including the railroad. If you look carefully, you'll notice that the palm trees sculpted into the monument blow toward the storm instead of away from it.

[K. Ward, 11/20/2000]

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September 2, 2014

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