Small island — long history

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By Toni C. Collins, Levy County Historian

Levy County Historian
Atsena Otie - the island you see from the restaurants and the big dock on the waterfront in Cedar Key has a long history. The cemetery located on the island is the final resting place for a cross section of the early pioneer families of Levy County.
Atsena Otie, or Depot Key, was the headquarters of U.S. troops during the Second Seminole Indian War (1835-1842). The quartermaster built a number of buildings on the island which included a hospital, blacksmith shop, and officers quarters. When the military pulled out of the area, the buildings which were not destroyed in the hurricane of Oct. 4, 1842, were purchased at public auction by Augustus Steele.
Steele also gained ownership of the 163-acre island by securing a land grant through the Armed Occupation Act of 1842, even though the Federal Government had reserved all of the islands in the Cedar Keys for government purposes several years earlier.

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