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Cemetery on Atsena Otie Key. From the author’s collection on Flickr.

Athena Otie was the original Cedar Key and was a bustling center for milling lumber products to be shipped off to parts north. That began to decline in the late 19th century as more railroads moved further and further down the Florida peninsula. The last straw was a devestating hurricane in 1896 that destroyed almost everything on the island. From then on, the town of Cedar Key has been located at its current location closer to the mainland.

Today, when you visit Atsena Otie, you will be greeted by swarms of mosquitos as you walk the sandy paths across the island. Ruined foundations of once-busy sawmills are crumbling on the beach. But, back in the hammock is the surprisingly-well preserved remains of the old cemetery.

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