Indian Key, an 11 acre island just offshore to the east, played an important part in Florida's history. An Indian village 1500 years ago, it was also the home of pirates roaming the Caribbean, and a ship wrecker's village during the 1810's. The original seat of Dade County in 1836, the village consisted of some thirty houses, a warehouse, wharves, a general store, shops, U.S. Post Office, a hotel with ballroom and bowling alleys. It became the site of the Tropical Plant Company with a nursery on Lower Matecumbe, raising sisal for hemp rope, and mulberry trees used in the silk industry. Indians attacked the island killing Dr. Henry Perrine and five others the night of August 7, 1840. Just over the bridge on Lower Matecumbe stood a large Indian village with fresh water wells used by Spanish fleets going to and from Spain.