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flag  History of Key West, Florida, USA

Journey back in time to Key West, Florida, USA

Visit Key West, Florida, USA. Discover its history. Learn about the people who lived there through stories, old newspaper articles, pictures, postcards and ancestry.

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Key West, Florida, USA - Turtle Catch, 1910

Key West, Monroe, Florida, USA

Key West has the highest average temperature in the United States.

Fort Zachary Taylor in Key West was built between 1845 and 1866. Controlled by the Union during the Civil War, the fort was the home base for a successful blockade of Confederate ships that some historians say shortened the conflict by a full year. The fort also was active during the Spanish-American War, World War I, and World War II.

50states.com

There is MUCH more to discover about Key West, Florida, USA. Read on!

Key West Nostalgia: Vintage Photos, Ads, and Postcards

Turtle Catch, 1910
Key West, Florida, USA

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Turtle Catch, 1910
Custom House and Harbor
Key West, Florida, USA

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Custom House and Harbor
Residence Section
Key West, Florida, USA

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Residence Section
Seven Mile Bridge Between Key West and Mainland, Fla.
Key West, Florida, USA

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Seven Mile Bridge Between Key West and Mainland, Fla.
Birdseye view Cactus Terrace, Key West, Fla.
Key West, Florida, USA

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Birdseye view Cactus Terrace, Key West, Fla.
Key West Colonial Hotel
Key West, Florida, USA

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Key West Colonial Hotel
Duval Street, Looking North
Key West, Florida, USA

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Duval Street, Looking North
Custom House and Post Office
Key West, Florida, USA

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Custom House and Post Office
Interior of Martello Tower No. 2
Key West, Florida, USA

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Interior of Martello Tower No. 2
Benny's Cafeteria, 909 Simonton St.
Key West, Florida, USA

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Benny's Cafeteria, 909 Simonton St.
Overseas Highway over Pigeon Key, between the Mainland and Key West, Florida
Key West, Florida, USA

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Overseas Highway over Pigeon Key, between the Mainland and Key West, Florida
Duval Street, Looking East
Key West, Florida, USA

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Duval Street, Looking East
The Old Caroline Lowe Home
Key West, Florida, USA

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The Old Caroline Lowe Home
North Beach Inn
Key West, Florida, USA

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North Beach Inn
Overseas Highway Bridge, between the Mainland and Key West, Fla. as Seen from Pigeon Key
Key West, Florida, USA

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Overseas Highway Bridge, between the Mainland and Key West, Fla. as Seen from Pigeon Key
Key West 7 Mile Bridge
Key West, Florida, USA

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Key West 7 Mile Bridge

Discover Key West: History, News, Travel, and Stories

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1828 - Key West, Florida founded

wikipedia.org
1845 - Fort Zachary Taylor in Key West was built between 1845 and 1866.
Controlled by the Union during the Civil War, the fort was the home base for a successful blockade of Confederate ships that some historians say shortened the conflict by a full year. The fort also was active during the Spanish-American War, World War I, and World War II.
www.ereferencedesk.com/ resources/ state-facts/ florida.html
1846 - September hurricane creates inlets on the North Carolina Outer Banks
Two major inlets on the Outer Banks of North Carolina were cut by a hurricane in September 1846. Later in the year, a severe hurricane struck the Florida Keys destroying or damaging all but eight of the 600 houses in Key West. Some experts say this hurricane was probably a Category 5 on the Saffir-Simpson scale.

Hurricane timeline: The 1800s
Sun Sentinel
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
www.sun-sentinel.com
1854 - Key West City
Key West City, a port of entry and capital of Monroe county, Florida, on a small island of its own name. It is the most populous town of the state, and occupies an import ant position as the key to the Florida Pass and the Gulf of Mexico. The island of Key West is 4 miles long by 1 mile wide, and elevated not more than 20 feet above the level of the sea. It is of coral formation, with little available soil. The name is said to be a corruption of Cayo Hueto, or Bone Key. and has no relation to the position of the island, which is not the most western of the reef. The town is laid out with streets 50 feet wide, crossing each other at right angles. It contains Episcopal, Methodist, Baptist, and Roman Catholic churches, 5 schools, 26 stores, 10 warehouses, 650 houses, and about 3000 inhabitants. The marine hospital is a fine building, 100 feet long by 45 feet wide. The harbor is capacious, safe, and easily accessible for ships of 22 feet draught. The principal business of Key West is... Read MORE...

1895 - Key West
Key West, a city and port of entry, the capital of Monroe co, Fla., on Thompson's Island, or Bone Key (Sp: Cayo Hueso, ki’o wa'so, whence the name), a small island of coral formation in the Gulf of Mexico or Strait of Florida, about 55 miles S.W. of Cape Sable. Lat. 24°32' N.; lon. 81° 48' W. It contains 9 churches, a marine hospital, a custom-house, and printing-offices which issue 2 daily and 3 weekly newspapers. It has a safe harbor, the entrance of which is defended by Fort Taylor, a large and costly work. The harbor admits vessels drawing 20 feet or more of water. The inhabitants derive a large portion of their income from the salvage of the vessels which are wrecked on the adjacent islands. The steamers which ply between New Orleans and Havana, and New York and Galveston, touch at this port. It has extensive manufactures of cigars, important sponge-fisheries, and some salt-works. Pop. in 1880, 9890; in 1890, 18,080.
Lippincott's Gazetteer of the World: A Complete Pronouncing Gazetteer Or Geographical Dictionary of the World Containing Notices of Over One Hundred and Twenty-five Thousand Places ... Joseph Thomas January 1, 1895 J.B. Lippincott
1909 - KEY WEST IN RUINS. Hurricane Which Struck Coast Of Florida Causes Loss Of Millions.
Great Damage Also Done at Havana and Over Island of Cuba by One of the Worst Storms Since the Disastrous Blow of 1906.

Key West, Fla. - As a result of the hurricane which struck the southern coast of Florida on Monday, Key West is a mass of wreckage, and the damage to property is estimated at $2 000 000. Martial law was proclaimed and the Key West guards took charge of the city.

The United States Government has been asked to dispatch troops here without delay. Chaos reigned on every hand and few people remained in their homes. Hundreds of houses were totally wrecked or damaged.

One hundred vessels were in the harbor, but five remained at anchor the others having gone to sea or being washed upon the beaches. Streets along the water front are a mass of wreckage.

Brick, as well as frame buildings throughout the city suffered from the hurricane, and many miraculous escapes from death have been reported.

Almost every nationality is represented among the city a population of... Read MORE...

1912 - Railroads
Railroads expanded to Key West in 1912, opening new land for development.

www.e-referencedesk.com/ resources/state-history-timeline/ florida.html
1916
Key West (officially, Keywest), a city, United States naval station, and port of entry, the capital of Monroe co., Fla., on Thompson's Island, or Bone Key, a small island of coral formation in the Gulf of Mexico or Strait of Florida, about 55 miles SW. of Cape Sable. Lat. 24° 32' N. ; Lon. 81° 48' W. It has a safe harbor, the entrance of which is defended by Fort Taylor, a large and costly work, and by other more modern fortifications. The harbor admits vessels drawing 20 feet or more of water. The city has extensive docks, repair-yards, marine railway, hospitals and barracks, and a number of prominent public buildings. Its mild climate has made it a popular health- and winter-resort. It has extensive manufactures of cigars (which employ upward of 6000 hands) and shell-work, and important industries in sponges, coral, and turtle-shell. Deep-sea fishing is extensively carried on. The range of temperature is from 50° to 97 , with a mean for the winter of 70°. Pop. in 1890, 18,080 ; in... Read MORE...

1919 - September 10 - A hurricane struck the Florida Keys drowning more than 500 persons.

WeatherForYou.com
September 10, 1919
1928 - Explosion Kills One Lighthouse Tender Off Key West Catches Fire When Cook Strikes Matches.
(By United Press.)
Key West, Fla., Dec. 27. - The lighthouse tender, Poinsettia, caught fire and exploded at her berth in the navy yard Thursday, killing one and injuring three others.

Kris Knutsen, 32, a seaman, a native of Norway, was killed and Leon Carey and Y. Lesia, seamen, and J.C. Brown, a cook, were injured.

The explosion occurred when Brown struck a match in the galley to start breakfast. The entire port side of the craft was blown away.
Decatur Evening Herald
Decatur, Illinois
December 27, 1928
1935 - 'Labor Day' hurricane hits Florida Keys
This storm slammed into the keys on Sept. 2, then turned north in the southeastern United States. The wind and tides were responsible for 408 deaths in the Florida Keys, primarily among World War I veterans working in the area. This was the most intense hurricane ever to strike the United States.

Hurricane timeline: 1900 to 1950
Sun Sentinel
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
www.sun-sentinel.com
1952 - July 17 - Thunderstorms helped the temperature at Key West, FL, to dip to 69 degrees, to equal their July record established on the first of July in 1923.

The Weather Channel
1960 - September 10 - Hurricane Donna struck the Florida Keys, with winds gusting to 180 mph and a thirteen foot storm surge.

The Weather Channel
1983 - 38 Bridges
Thirty-eight overseas highway bridges from Key Largo to Key West are completed under the Florida Keys Bridge Replacement Program.

www.e-referencedesk.com/ resources/state-history-timeline/ florida.html
2003 - Hijacked
Plane hijacked in Cuba landed in Key West

www.e-referencedesk.com/ resources/state-history-timeline/ florida.html
2023 - Here's a list of places to go and things to do in Key West:
Mallory Square: Start your Key West adventure at Mallory Square, where you can witness breathtaking sunsets. It's a nightly tradition for locals and tourists alike, with street performers, food vendors, and a lively atmosphere.

Duval Street: This iconic street is the heart of Key West's nightlife and entertainment. Lined with bars, restaurants, shops, and galleries, it's the perfect place for a leisurely stroll during the day and a fun night out.

Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum: Visit the former home of the famous writer Ernest Hemingway. You can tour the house and gardens, where he wrote some of his most famous works. Don't miss the chance to see the famous six-toed cats that call this place home.

Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park: This state park offers a beautiful sandy beach, picnic areas, and excellent snorkeling opportunities. The fort itself is a historic gem, and you can take guided tours to learn about its role in American history.

Key West Butterfly and... Read MORE...

Discover MY Roots: Key West Ancestry

Ancestors Who Were Born or Died in Key West, Florida, USA

We currently have information about 91 ancestors who were born or died in Key West.

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Ancestors Who Were Married in Key West, Florida, USA

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Genealogy Resources for Key West

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Updated: 9/25/2023 7:39:05 AM