Bertelli, Wilkinson team up for second book

'Islamorada' part of 'Images of America' series

February 7, 2014 



Upper Keys historians Brad Bertelli and Jerry Wilkinson have a new book about the island chain coming out Monday. 

Islamorada, part of Acadia Publishing's Images of America series, contains more than 200 images of the group of islands -- Plantation Key, Windley Key, Upper Matecumbe Key and Lower Matecumbe Key -- that became an incorporated village in 1997. 

Islamorada also has two other islands -- Indian Key and Lingumvitae Key -- that have been designated as state parks. 

The photos and accompanying essays in the book tell of Islamorada's history dating back to the early 1800s. 

"Islamorada has attracted presidents, movie stars, first-rate characters and bona fide rapscallions," Bertelli and Wilkinson wrote in a press release. "What has always been true about Islamorada is that the elements of sky, sun and water create the desire to slow down and breathe in the coconut scented breezes."

The book contains photographs that date back to the 1840s. Another highlight of Islamorada is its detailing in photos and words of the Great Labor Day Storm of 1935, which at the time, was the most powerful Atlantic storm to strike North America on record. 

The book also covers Indian Key and the famous wreckers, Henry Flagler's railroad, William Krome, the area's rich fishing history, and many more topics. 

Wilkinson is perhaps the best-known, living Keys historians, along with Irving Eyster. He moved to the Keys in 1947. 

Bertelli, 47, is prepared to carry the torch for the elder historians. 

A native of California, Bertelli moved to the Keys in 2001 after earning a master's degree in fine arts from the University of Miami. He began studying the history of the Keys and working with Wilkinson in 2009.

The Florida Keys History and Discovery Foundation recently hired Bertelli to be curator of its Discovery Center in the Islander Resort. 

He opened his company, Historic Upper Keys Walking Tours, last year. Counting Islamorada, Bertelli is the author of four books about the Keys including another produced together with Jerry Wilkinson, called Key Largo, which was published in 2012.

He writes a bi-weekly history column for The Reporter and has been published in the Miami Herald,Key West History Magazine, Upper Keys Times, Florida Scuba News and Southern Tide and Trail. 

He has published several fictional short stories and has written an as yet unpublished novel.

Islamorada will be available for sale at local bookstores for $21.99 and online at 




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