“On the Reef: The Legendary Ocean Reef Club and the People Who Made it Great” provides an oral account, including tales involving celebrities and political leaders who have visited over the years, of the club’s role in taking what began as a small fishing camp in the 1950s to its status as a premier community today.
The secluded Ocean Reef Club, a private community in Key Largo, Fla. at the northern edge of the Florida Keys, is full of stories that have been told over cocktails and cracked conch at The Raw Bar and other establishments within its gates. Now, the oral history of the club and its role in the development of the renowned Florida Keys community has been captured on the pages of a new book by co-authors Dick Farmer and Shirley Shipley. On the Reef: The Legendary Ocean Reef Club and the People Who Made it Great details what the development of what began as a small fishing camp in the 1950s, where guests stayed in small “yachtels,” into the premier community of today.
“For generations, the members of Ocean Reef Club have taken pride in the club’s past, which is evident walking through the Ocean Reef Historical Society Museum in our beautiful Cultural Center,” explains Richard Weinstein, Vice President of Marketing and Membership for the club. “The book captures the club’s unique past and provides an important link to the broader history of the Florida Keys; it is a must-have for anyone interested in the “real” Florida.”
The book includes intriguing tales about Minneapolis developers Alice and Morris Baker, former club owners Harper Sibley and Carl Lindner, and the celebrities and political leaders who have visited Ocean Reef Club over the years. The book also shares some of the geographic obstacles for early access in a time of dirt roads in young Key Largo, and the challenges in development both at the start of the club’s history, as well as its redevelopment following Hurricane Andrew.
The book will be made available for purchase at the club in its membership office.
With 1,700 waterfront estates, private homes, condominiums and boat slips, Ocean Reef Club also features an oceanfront Inn, full-service spa and salon, and an array of dining and shopping options. Leisure amenities include a 175-slip marina for boating, fishing and diving; two 18-hole championship golf courses; world-class tennis and lawn sports; jogging and cycling paths; cooking school; nature center; art league; cultural center; and a full range of children’s activities and programming. The club is also equipped with a fully staffed Medical Center, gourmet grocery store, veterinary care and The Academy, an independent K-8th grade “school within a school.”
Located within an hour from Miami International Airport, Ocean Reef Club is also serviced by its own 4,456-ft. lighted runway.