Atsena Otie Key
Latitude / Longitude:
29° 7′ 21″ N, 83° 1′ 35.76″ W
Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
Atsena Otie Key, the original site for the town of Cedar Key, Florida is a Florida island. It includes a swimming area, trail and Faber Mill ruins. The property is part of the Cedar Key National Wildlife Refuge and is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.> Atsena Otie Key is a barrier island a half mile offshore from Cedar Key, Florida
From 1818 to the early 1820s the island was used as a trading post, and was important during the First Seminole War. It remained as such until Florida was made a U.S. Territory in 1821. In 1840 General Walker Keith Armistead, commander at that time of United States troops in the Second Seminole War, ordered construction of a hospital on the island. U.S. Army headquarters for the war in Florida were moved to the island, and it became known as Depot Key. In August, 1842 Colonel William J. Worth, commander of the U.S Army in Florida, met with Seminole leaders on Depot Key and negotiated an agreement that if the Seminoles retreated to southernmost Florida and stayed there the Army would leave them be. On the basis of this agreement, Colonel Worth declared the Second Seminole War to be over. In October, 1842 Depot Key was hit by a hurricane that caused so much damage that the Army abandoned the post.
In 1923 Atsena Otie Key was purchased for $500, and in 1929 the Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge established on nearby Snake, Bird, and North Keys. In 1950 the last remaining house on the island was destroyed by Hurricane Easy (1950).
In 1997 Atsena Otie Key was sold to the Suwannee River Water Management District who entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to have the island managed as part of the Cedar Keys NWR. The island is open for public use. Atsena Otie Key is mentioned in the second act of Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, an opera by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill: the characters are waiting for a hurricane and they receive news that Pensacola and Atsena have just been destroyed by it.