The red, yellow, black and white marker, a 20-ton concrete monument that resembles a giant marine navigational buoy, was installed beside the Atlantic Ocean in 1983 and designates the southernmost point of land in the continental United States.
“The Southernmost Point is one of the most iconic spots in the Florida Keys,” said Key West Mayor Teri Johnston. “People come from around the world in order to be photographed in front of this statue.
“Our Public Works group has been out here since Sunday night working diligently to repair this iconic site,” she said. “They’ve done a great job.”
Every day, in a tradition that has spanned decades, scores of visitors line up at the corner of Whitehead and South streets to take turns photographing each other beside the landmark.
According to images caught on webcam, it was damaged when two men placed a Christmas tree in front of it and set it ablaze between 3 and 3:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 1. The flames caused a large-scale burn mark, with the cost of the damage estimated at over $5,000.
Thursday morning, Key West Police announced warrants issued for the two men suspected of torching a Christmas tree next to the landmark buoy.
David B. Perkins, Jr., 22, of Leesburg, Florida, and Skylar Rae Jacobson, 21, of Henrietta, Texas, face charges of criminal mischief with damages over $1,000. Thursday afternoon, Perkins turned himself in at a Monroe County detention facility in the Upper Florida Keys.
Jacobson is also expected to turn himself in, according to Key West Police Department spokesperson Alyson Crean.
Shortly after the fire, Key West Public Works employees began repairing the monument and repainting its graphics, including lettering that proclaims it stands just 90 miles from Cuba’s shores.
The Southernmost Point marker is so popular that, even before repairs were completed, visitors continued to line up beside it, waiting their turn to snap that iconic photo.
Story: Workers Put Finishing Touches on Restored Key West Icon After Fire
Locator Super: Key West, Fla.
Video: Video to match this story is available on the Florida Keys News Bureau's FTP server (download details below). Video can be accessed as well via Google Drive Link by clicking here.
B-roll of workers completing the painting and restoration of Southernmost Point; SOTs with Key West Mayor Teri Johnston and file webcam footage of suspects burning Christmas tree.
Video source: Florida Keys News Bureau
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