Fire destroys historic Collier building

Posted at 11:27 PM, Apr 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-12 06:50:02-04

It took only 15 minutes for flames to destroy a building along Tamiami Trail that was built 80 years ago.

The embers were still smoldering Monday, two days after Monroe Station caught fire.  Fire crews were called out to 50910 Tamiami Trail around 11:30 Saturday night.

"By the time they were on site here, the building was engulfed in flames," said National Park Service Spokesman Bob Degross.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

PHOTOS: Aftermath of Monroe Station fire

In April of 1928, Tamiami Trail opened, linking Miami to Naples for the first time.  Travel along the desolate road could be dangerous at times.  A series of road side stops were opened, including Monroe Station.

"It was that place everyone stopped at as they traveled across the peninsula, to stop and get a cold beverage and a burger," said Degross.

Security officers were also posted at the stop, those officers eventually became some of the first Collier County Deputies when the county was formed.

In 2000, Monroe Station was registered as a historic landmark.  The building was boarded up in 2007.

"If you think about it, South Florida really wasn't opened up and a lot of development taking place until after the Tamiami Trail, in 1928," said Degross.

A preservation group had been raising funds to try and restore Monroe Station before the fire.