Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Brent R. Weisman, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Robert H. Tykot, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Nancy Marie White, Ph.D.


cistern, Florida Keys, Jacob Housman, limestone, Second Seminole War


Indian Key Historic State Park is a small island located on the Atlantic Ocean side of the Florida Keys, near Islamorada. Before it was bought by the state of Florida in 1970, Indian Key had been the setting for a number of historically significant activities. The most well known of these is the 1840 raid on the people and buildings that made up a small wrecking village, established on the island by Jacob Housman in the early 1830s. The limestone foundations of these structures are the main attraction to today's visitor to the park.

There is more to the story of Indian Key, though, than the Housman period and the structural remains left behind from this stage of the island's history. Almost immediately after the near destruction of the island in 1840, the Florida Squadron of the Navy took over, constructing their own buildings, and re-using some of the previously constructed foundations. This cycle of rebuilding and re-use continued for another hundred years, with families and fishers trying to inhabit and profit from Indian Key.

The focus of this thesis is to examine the foundations and associated archaeological features of Indian Key in order to determine better periods of use and re-use for the buildings that have been identified through archaeological investigations. This research was conducted in order to examine the site's architecture through an archaeological perspective; it is by no means an attempt at a complete architectural study of the site. Rather, it is an effort to examine the entire island of Indian Key, by focusing on the history of the buildings that helped make it an important piece of Florida's past.