old hippie commune on key, west of key west?

Posted in the Key West Forum

tom

Palm City, FL

#1 Jun 8, 2009
About 20 years ago some boat captain told me about some type of commune on one of the keys west of key west.(or there abouts) that had several hundred people in it, made their own laws, liquor stills, was finally cleared out by federal government after things got out of hand, a few murders or something? I think he said it was in the 1960's. Anyone heard of this?
Bob

Palm City, FL

#2 Jun 9, 2009
Sounds vaguely familiar, Im not sure if they were hippies or not?
Cody on Bluewater

Key West, FL

#3 Jun 11, 2009
sounds like Key West and a drunken sailor
tom

United States

#4 Jul 5, 2010
there aren't any keys west of Key West. What are you smoking?
Key Wester

Homestead, FL

#5 Jul 5, 2010
He probably means Christmas Tree Island.
Keys

Apopka, FL

#6 Jul 5, 2010
There are many Keys west of Key West, but the only ones populated are Ballast Key and the Dry Tortugas.

tom - I believe you are thinking about a couple old islands off Big Torch Key and Summerland Key. One is in Kemp Channel and the other is in Niles Channel. It's east of Key West about 26 miles. I don't remember the name of the islands, but there are still some old trailers on both of them.
Reality

Washington, DC

#7 Jul 6, 2010
Keys wrote:
tom - I believe you are thinking about a couple old islands off Big Torch Key and Summerland Key. One is in Kemp Channel and the other is in Niles Channel. It's east of Key West about 26 miles. I don't remember the name of the islands, but there are still some old trailers on both of them.
The island in Kemp Channel is part of the Budd Keys. If I'm not mistaken, that island was used to house workers from the shrimp livery (King Shrimp) that used to be on Tarpon Belly Key, the next island to the north. There are still a couple old mobile home trailers on the island.

I think the island off Middle Torch Key is more likely to be the one. I do not know the name either, and my chart doesn't label it with a name, but it was an illegal campground full of "free spiriters." There are still a couple old abandoned camper trailers on the island.

The only inhabited island west of Key West is Ballast Key. That island was shown in a James Bond movie when Connery made the quote "I hope you don't mind, but I broke in to your island." I'm not aware of any commune existing before the Wolkowski's developed it, though.
BOBBY FLAHERTY

Clearwater, FL

#8 Jul 9, 2010
YES IT WAS CHRISTMAS TREE ISLAND. ONE OF THE RESIDENTS WAS PRITNAM SINGH. IT WAS A COOL OLD HIPPIE/SHRIMPER HANG OUT. THEN SOMEONE GOT KILLED AND THAT ENDED THE COMMUNE/AFFORDABLE KEYS HOUSING, IN KEY WEST...
little billy

Seattle, WA

#9 Sep 28, 2012
right afeter the cuban missle crisis my mom moved us down there cause my slut of a sister took off with some navy dude and wouldnt come back , we lived there for years and I got to know everybody and i mean everybody,.communes? there was the simonton house the fogerty house and a few more lots of hippys and runaway chicks everybody was drinking wine and getting somecandles abonded everywhere and everybody wanted a new coffee shop to open there was the green roo( a pool hall ) the blue room ( a book store the house of psychadeights ( a hippy disco 20 years before discos ) dancing bill was running for mayor and crazy jane was putting out,.mel fisher hadent found any gold yet and people were looking for him for the money he owed them,.lots and lots of stuff , along time ago in a galaxy far away
little billy

Seattle, WA

#10 Sep 28, 2012
Vasili arkihpov
Larry Claypool

Vancouver, Canada

#11 May 17, 2013
back in the late 60's a bunch of the local hippies did in fact live on Christmas tree island- never a big group maybe 10 people- one of the p[eople who lived out on Christmas Tree was an alleged escaped murderer from Texas named Russ- Russ was far older than the rest and had been in jail in Texas(since 1932) more than 30 years when he escaped. One night the Key West police led by Tito Casamayor( one of the 2 guys who head up vice squad)if memory serves me right raided the group and chased everyone off the island. Russ, sadly was captured, and returned to Texas. I'd heard Russ's story and knew him as an exceedingly gentle man. He had indeed killed the other man in an alchohol fueled jealous rage over some woman but certainly done a lot more time in Texas than he would have any where else. His act was more that of aggravated manslaughter than of first degree murder. Tito was later convicted of running the numbers game( Bolita) amongst his fellow Cubans and resigned in disgrace. George Lastres who was also one of the 2 policemen heading up the Key West Vice squad eventually quit and went back to playing piano at WQreckers bar and lounge
Larry Claypool

Vancouver, Canada

#12 May 17, 2013
little billy wrote:
right afeter the cuban missle crisis my mom moved us down there cause my slut of a sister took off with some navy dude and wouldnt come back , we lived there for years and I got to know everybody and i mean everybody,.communes? there was the simonton house the fogerty house and a few more lots of hippys and runaway chicks everybody was drinking wine and getting somecandles abonded everywhere and everybody wanted a new coffee shop to open there was the green roo( a pool hall ) the blue room ( a book store the house of psychadeights ( a hippy disco 20 years before discos ) dancing bill was running for mayor and crazy jane was putting out,.mel fisher hadent found any gold yet and people were looking for him for the money he owed them,.lots and lots of stuff , along time ago in a galaxy far away
Your discription is pretty spot on Billy-don't know who you are but I lived at Fogerty House at the time- Timmy, Dutch the biker, Jack the Bear etc - top floor at the front with another sailor named Dale Vanderyacht-- did my first hit of acid at Simonton where Sandy and Jenny lived courtesy of jack the bear and mucho fumar-oh what a night that was-owsleys' white lightning 1967
old hippie chick

Jacksonville, FL

#13 Dec 1, 2013
This could have been the Rockland Key Commune in 69 &70. I lived there. We had maybe 40-50 living on the camp, but a huge swell of weekend warriors. There were no murders or violence, but we got run off because of local Monroe County residents hated our lifestyle. Most of us moved on down the few Keys to Key West (before it was a commercial jungle) and some went back inland. It was a great life...would't trade the experiences for the world.

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