Ghost Town on the Tamiami Trail

Old Pinecrest Gas Station, Old Tamiami Trail
© 2010 by Michael A. Pancier

About a mile west of what is now Shark Valley lies the entrance to the Loop Road. A 30 mile drive into a pothole laden dirt road through Big Cypress National Preserve. The road used to be part of the original Tamiami Trail.  If you drive it now, besides gators, birds, rednecks and bugs, you'll run into the Pinecrest Ghostown.  In the 1920's Pinecrest was a kind of boom town with the opening of the Trail. Pioneers were gator hunters, loggers, farmers, bootleggers, and some just trying to get away from the law. The nearest law was at the county seat in Key West. Pinecrest, just across the county line from Dade county, was a perfect place for Al Capone's home, hotel, and brothel. When the Depression hit it had a devastating affect on Pinecrest. The hurricanes finished the rest off. Gone are many of the homes, school, and the Gator Hook Lodge (The lodge was located at the S curve on Loop Road.) The Gator Hook was a local watering hole and dance club that featured local celebrity Ervin Rouse. Rouse is famous for the musical hit "The Orange Blossom Special". The area was featured along with pictures in the August 1976 issue of National Geographic. 

 © 2010 Michael A. Pancier