Historic Monroe Station Burns – Cause Unknown

Monroe Station in Ochopee, Florida. Photo by Michael Kleen[] Ochopee, Florida — Historic Monroe Station, an abandoned outpost on the Tamiami Trail running through Florida’s Big Cypress National Preserve, burned down Saturday night under mysterious circumstances. I visited the historic landmark while on vacation at nearby Marco Island in the winter of 2014/2015 and was struck by its remote location and interesting history.

For many decades, this small building was the only waystation on the long journey through the wet cypress forest. Federal regulators forced it to close in the 1980s due to environmental concerns over its old gas pumps, and it has sat abandoned ever since. Now known as Monroe Station, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2000 after being used in films like Gone Fishin’ (1997) staring Danny Glover and Joe Pesci.

According to the Naples Daily News:

Efforts by firefighters with the Ochopee Fire Department couldn’t save the building in Big Cypress, which was on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Firefighters were called out about 11:45 p.m. and found the station engulfed in flames. They were able to control the fire, leaving at 2:20 a.m. — but the building was burned down to its foundation.

Big Cypress National Preserve spokesmen said there was no burn activity going on at the time and humidity levels were high, making it unlikely the fire started accidentally. Photos of the fire’s aftermath can be found at This is reminiscent of a fire that destroyed the LeBeau Plantation in Louisiana in 2013, another abandoned location popular with legend trippers.

While so many similar landmarks are lost to development and natural disasters, it is especially senseless when a landmark such as this is lost to either gross negligence or malicious intent.

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