Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Whiskey Stump Key

Among Florida's numerous Sanctuary Islands is Whiskey Stump Key, a charming little spot that was once a secret liquor bootlegging outpost. Back in the bad old days of alcohol prohibition, moonshiners would take boats here to deliver the hooch on demand. Prospective customers would row out to the island, leave money and an empty bottle under a tree stump, and later return to find the bottle filled with moonshine. I suppose if you didn't have a boat, however, you were S.O.L.

According to the Audubon Society, "In a quiet stand of cabbage palms on this natural island stands a monument erected in memory of Dr. H.R. Mills, a Tampa pathologist who was the driving force behind the establishment of the Sanctuary and for many years its strongest supporter." I haven't yet made it out to Whiskey Stump Key, but I'm very interested in seeing this statue and, perhaps more importantly, leaving an empty bottle and a twenty just to see what happens, you know, in the interest of research.

Whiskey Stump Key is not to be confused with Whiskey Key (spelled Whisky Key on Topoquest) which is a little further south near Shell Point, the unimaginitively named Tropical Island, and the puzzlingly-named Negro Island. The origin of Whiskey Key's name probably has the same moonshiner basis; perhaps it's the island where they made the stuff before rowing it over to the stump for delivery.

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