Our Bus Tour Around Key West
We jumped on the ‘hop on, hop off’ bus and soon saw Sloppy Joe’s. The empty building in the middle was once a café that gained fame by making the worlds biggest Key Lime Pie. The Hotel Pegasus original art deco.
In Pre-Columbian times Key West was inhabited by the Calusa people. The first European to visit was Juan Ponce de León in 1521. As Florida became a Spanish colony, a fishing and salvage village with a small garrison was established here. The island is about 4 miles long and 2 miles wide. In the late 1950’s many of the large salt ponds on the eastern side were filled in, nearly doubling the original land mass of the island. The island measures 3,370 acres in area.
The Emancipation Proclamation went into immediate effect in Key West on the 1st of January 1863, and local blacks celebrated accordingly.
In the late 19th century, salt and salvage declined as industries, but Key West gained a thriving cigar-making industry.
By 1889 Key West was the largest and wealthiest city in Florida.
Many Cubans moved to Key West during Cuba's unsuccessful war for independence in the 1860’s and 1870’s.
Cruise Ship Statistics for 1994
A variety of houses and the Mile 0 marker – the most photographed and the most stolen.
Out of the old town and along the sea front. The sand has to be brought in every few years for the tourists.
Our old mate Henry Flagler’s Key West home
The only house in Key West completely built with marl
The Southernmost Point – a popular photo opportunity. The Southernmost hotel complex in the USA. Grockle shops make the most of the fact.
Our bus driver pointed to the Naval Air Station and said that you have to have extremely high secret squirrel clearance to get through the gates – it’s the major ‘listening’ place. The Green Parrot Bar is a tourist must.
Key West Cemetery near Solares Hill, the highest point of land on the island. The cemetery was moved to the high spot in 1847 – all eighteen feet of elevation - after an 1846 hurricane washed corpses out of the beach cemetery.
Audubon House was pivotal in the preservation and restoration movement in Key West
We saw some interesting houses, nice churches and some quaint hotels
ALL IN ALL A GREAT FUN PLACE TO VISIT
A SURPRISING AMOUNT OF HISTORY