John Pennekamp State Park, the nation’s first underwater park

In the 1950s, the continental United States’ only living barrier reef, a few miles off the Florida Keys, was under attack by divers armed with chisels, hammers and dynamite to harvest colorful coral and queen conch for curio shops and roadside vendors. In 1960, Key Largo’s John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park became the first underwater park in the country, created to preserve the coral reef. The park — with its nine-foot-tall, bronze underwater statue of Christ of the Abyss that matches one resting in the Mediterranean Sea — is named for Miami Herald associate editor John D. Pennekamp, who helped lead the drive for preservation.

Buy photos in the Herald store

Buy photos in the Herald store

Comments

comments