History of Flamingo in Everglades National Park

A one-time fishing village at the park's southern tip

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Flamingo once was a quiet fishing village that could only be reached by boat coming across Florida Bay or, later, through the Homestead-Flamingo Canal.

Today, you follow the 38 mile Main Park Road from the Coe Visitor Center to the Flamingo Visitor Center and the nearby Flamingo Marina, both located at the end of the Homestead road.

The town of Flamingo was named for the famous pink birds that were over-hunted and which disappeared from the Everglades for decades.

The town of Flamingo was established in 1893 in order to establish a post office for the plume hunters, fishermen, and farmers living there. Only 49 persons were reported living in Flamingo and Cape Sable in the 1910 census.

In 1915 Flamingo had the Roberts Hotel with just 4 bedrooms. However, mattresses could always be thrown on the floor if all the beds were filled.

To deal with the continual plague of mosquitoes, every building used smudge pots to keep them at bay. And a special room was used as the “loser room” where residents tried to lose the mosquitoes with a palmetto fan before entering the living quarters.

Experts say flamingos never did breed in Florida, that the flamingos at Flamingo were visitors from Cuba and the Bahamas, traveling here in large numbers until 1902.

Will you see flamingos at Flamingo? Probably not, although they are sometimes sighted on the nearby Rowdy Bend and Snake Bight hiking trails.

Flamingo is the gateway to Florida Bay and the coastal prairie. Florida Bay, a huge expanse larger than some states, extends from Flamingo to the Keys. It is incredibly shallow: parts of it are high and dry at low tide, with 9 feet the maximum recorded depth.

The mudflats and shallows of Florida Bay are ideal habitats for many varied types of birds. Look for sandpipers, ospreys, egrets, pelicans and more.

At A Glance

Main Park Road
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