Crane Point has a natural environment and history preserved through few inhabitants and the formation of the Keys Land and Sea Trust. It is a 63 acres piece of nature within a very developed City of Marathon on Vaca Key. It is located on a point of land extending into Florida Bay.
Its history is presented through an expertly constructed history museum. Nature trails provide a view of the plant and animal life that live in the Florida Keys environment.
The Caloosa lived in this area for at least 500 years before the arrival of the Spanish explorers.
Spanish artifacts are displayed documenting the Keys visitors of the 16th through 18th centuries. The reefs of the Florida Keys wrecked many ships, leaving behind many items providing the evidence for archaeologists to document the history of these times.
Henry Flagler changed the Florida Keys by building a railroad to Key West, opening the Keys to travel by land for the first time.
One aspect of this adventure has been to sample the flora and fauna of different areas. Crane Point Nature Center Museum provided many examples, artfully displayed. Barracuda, Green Sea Turtles, and Key Deer have been viewed in the wild, but are much easier to photograph in the museum.
The unique aspect that saved this property is that only two families occupied the property in the 20th century, a time when the Keys had major development, favoring dredge and fill, destroying the natural environment. George and Oliva Adderley, Bahamian immigrants, moved here in 1902. They built a house of tabby that still stands today as a house museum, a testament to the strong construction being able to withstand many hurricanes. Adderley made a living fishing and sponging, selling his catch in Key West, a long journey by a small sailing skiff. The Flagler Railroad needed some of Adderley's property for railroad right of way. Adderley negotiated with the railroad, trading the property for the right of way for a whistle stop at his property. The train would stop at his property whenever he raised the flag, providing fast transportation to Key West. The Adderleys lived on the property from 1902 until 1949. Their house is the oldest house in the Keys, outside of Key West.
Francis and Mary Crane purchased the property from George Adderley in 1949, building an Art Deco winter home on the point. The Cranes continued to preserve the natural state of the property, spending winters here until they sold the property in 1972. To keep the property from becoming developed, the Florida Keys Land and Sea Trust purchased the property, creating the museum and nature center -an opportunity to view the Florida Keys in their natural environment and the history of human interaction, preserved by a citizens group.