One look at the picture above and you might think the honeymoon is over for this old building standing in the waters of Cedar Key. But you might be surprised to learn this long-abandoned structure is actually the most photographed place in the small Gulf Coast town of just over 700 people. Dubbed the “Honeymoon Cottage,” it’s been around for decades and has become an iconic landmark in Florida, photographed hundreds of thousands of times and appearing in countless publications.

Here are six things you might not know about Cedar Key’s Honeymoon Cottage.

  • The tiny wood-framed, stilt cottage was built more than a half century ago by the Thomas family of Gainesville. They used it as a getaway for friends and family.
  • It was built 300 feet from shore in the shallow waters of the Gulf. All that connected it with land was a long, narrow boardwalk, which no longer exists.
  • The structure was nearly destroyed in 1985 when Hurricane Elena brought 100 mile per hour winds and a strong storm surge to Cedar Key. Because of its exposure to the elements, it was badly damaged and left in a deteriorating state.
  • It’s crumbling appearance led locals to nickname the house “Honeymoon Cottage.” Over the years, it has become a popular spot for visual artists who have documented it in their works. It’s now “the thing” people come to see in Cedar Key.
  • Locals are amazed the house is still standing. The relic continues to survive despite years of beatings by Mother Nature. Some believe the next big hurricane will bring it down for good.
  • The remnants of Thomas Guest House have become the epitome of what Cedar Key is – a throwback to a much simpler time. There are no real efforts to save the structure. Time will take its toll and one day it will be gone forever.