This area got its name for being a convenient picnic spot as far back as sailboat days. It served as a Naval air base during World War I. Significantly, Pan American World Airways began a flying boat service to Latin America in 1930. As part of this endeavor, Pan American World Airways, colloquially known as Pan Am, built hangars and a terminal. Thousands of people flocked to the area every month to see the Flying a Clippers. In 1932, a seaplane base was established here by the Coast Guard. The key was purchased by the City of Miami in 1946.