During the early 1800s, wrecking was a common occupation for Bahamian residents, and many plied their trade in the waters surrounding the Florida Keys. In 1825, however, the U.S. Congress passed the Federal Wrecking Act, which stipulated that goods salvaged from any vessel wrecked in American waters must be brought to a U.S. port.
In the decades that followed, hundreds of Bahamians, including wreckers, boat builders and those in related professions from Eleuthera, Harbour Island and Abaco relocated to Key West. To this largely uninhabited island, they brought everything, up to and including their houses!
When we moved Fish Hooks cottage in 2014, it was kind of a big deal. We had to stop traffic on the one route out of town, and the local folks came by to watch. Our local newspaper, the Abaconian even covered the move.
Moving Day at Fish Hooks, January 2014
In past years, however, moving house was fairly common in the islands. Several older homes on Green Turtle Cay were moved short distances on rollers. A few, we’re told, were even floated to new destinations on the cay before being set in place.
But that’s nothing compared to the sorts of moves some former Green Turtle Cay residents made back in the mid-1800s.