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A sweet slice of history: Florida Keys celebrate 200th birthday with giant Key lime pie

BIG PINE KEY — Partying never gets old in the Florida Keys — especially for a milestone birthday like No. 200.

The Florida Keys celebrated its bicentennial Monday along the Gulf of Mexico with a Key lime pie more than 13 feet in diameter — which organizers intend to certify as a world record.

The festivities marked the anniversary of the Florida Territorial Legislature’s establishment of Monroe County on July 3, 1823 and celebrated its history. The county contains all of the Keys and a portion of Everglades National Park.

During the Civil War, Key West remained in Union hands as a base for a naval blockade of Confederate shipping. In the early 1900s, Standard Oil millionaire Henry Flagler spearheaded the construction of the Florida Keys Over-Sea Railroad that became widely known as the eighth wonder of the world.

And for nearly six months of his 1945-1953 presidency, Harry Truman governed the U.S. from his Key West “Little White House” that is now Florida’s only presidential museum.

Key lime pie, originating in late 1800s Key West, is a large part of the continental United States’ southernmost island chain’s heritage. In 2006, Key lime pie was designated Florida’s official pie by the state Legislature.

Monday’s bicentennial version of the creamy dessert, prepared by local chefs, featured a traditional graham-cracker crust and whipped cream topping as well as the juice from several thousand Key limes.

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