OCHOPEE, Fla. – One of only two remaining original outposts along the Tamiami Trail through Florida's Everglades has been destroyed by fire.
Monroe Station was built in the 1920s and offered gas, food and security to motorists traversing what was once a remote highway. The Big Cypress National Preserve had been planning restoration for the long-abandoned wooden building in Ochopee.
Preserve spokesman Bob DeGross tells the News-Press (http://newspr.es/1S3Urvg ) the fire started late Saturday and remains under investigation.
Barron Gift Collier, an advertising entrepreneur who became Florida's largest landowner and developer, helped get the highway finished and built six outposts at roughly 10-mile intervals. The stations also served as sales centers, pitching nearby land to potential buyers.
The last remaining outpost, Royal Palm Station near Collier-Seminole State Park, survives as a gas station.
Information from: The (Fort Myers, Fla.) News-Press, http://www.news-press.com