On April 9, 2016 at approximately 11:45 PM firefighters and law enforcement personnel from Collier County and Big Cypress National Preserve responded to a fire at the Monroe Station within the national preserve. The historic structure, located at the junction of Tamiami Trail and Loop Road, was consumed by fire and burnt to the ground. Ochopee Fire District Assistant Chief Caleb Morris stated that when he arrived on scene Monroe Station was completely engulfed in flames and sending up large embers into the sky.
The cause of the fire is currently undetermined and under investigation by both the Florida State Bureau of Fire and Arson and the National Park Service’s Investigative Services Branch. If you have any information related to this incident please contact the Florida State’s Arson Tip Line at 877-662-7766.
Monroe Station was one of six way stations constructed in the late 1920s in the remote reaches of Collier County along the Tamiami Trail. Monroe and the Royal Palm Station, locatedat the intersection of CR 92 and Tamiami Trail are the only two that remained near their original locations, three of the stations have been destroyed over time and one was moved a great distance from its original site and modified for other use. The purpose of the way stations was to provide gas, and other conveniences to travelers. Over the years Monroe Station had been modified by several lessees and was a well known way point for people along the road.
In 1988 the property, which was owned by the Collier Corporation, was transferred to the National Park Service, the business closed, and the building boarded up. In 2000 the structure was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Since 2005 the National Park Service had been seeking financial support for the stabilization and restoration of the structure. Next steps related to the site are undetermined at this time.
For more information on the history of the Tamiami Trail and Monroe Station visit: www.nps.gov/bicy/learn/historyculture/tamiami-trail-and-monroe-station.htm