News Release Date: April 18, 2016
Contact: NPS Investigative Services Branch, (202) 379-4761
Contact: Tip Line, 888-653-0009
Investigation ongoing into the fire that destroyed the historic Monroe Station
Special Agents with the NPS Investigative Services Branch are working with the Florida State Bureau of Fire and Arson and the US Attorney's Office on the investigation into the fire that destroyed the historic Monroe Station on April 9.
Soon after 11:45 p.m. that night, firefighters and law enforcement personnel from Collier County and Big Cypress National Preserve responded to the fire but the historic Monroe Station was completely consumed within minutes. Ochopee Fire District Assistant Chief Caleb Morris stated that when he arrived on scene Monroe Station was fully engulfed in flames and sending up large embers into the sky.
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, located at 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 way stations provided 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 (NPS), the business closed, and the building boarded up. In 2000 the structure was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Since 2005 the NPS had been seeking financial support for the stabilization and restoration of the structure. Next steps related to the site are undetermined at this time.
Investigators are in contact with those believed to be responsible for the fire, and the investigation is ongoing.