KEY WEST (CBSMiami/FKNB) Restoration of Key West’s Southernmost Point marker, one of the Florida Keys’ most photographed tourism icons, is complete after it was damaged when Hurricane Irma struck the island chain Sept. 10.
The red, yellow, black and white marker, a massive concrete monument that resembles a giant marine navigational buoy, is located beside the Atlantic Ocean and designates the southernmost point of land in the continental United States.
“For Key West to really recover, we had to have this monument back painted again so people could come here again and take their picture and feel like something special when they visited Key West,” said Key West Mayor Craig Cates. Every day, in a tradition that has spanned decades, hordes of tourists stop to take photos of each other beside the monument’s ungainly expanse.
The City of Key West hired original artist Danny Acosta, who was aided by Henry DelValle, to repaint the graphics after public works staffers re-stuccoed and primed the four-ton structure.
Despite damage to the marker, Key West was not seriously impacted by Hurricane Irma’s passage through the Florida Keys. The Keys reopened to visitors Oct. 1, although some harder-hit areas of the 125-mile island chain continue to recover.