Digital marketing by Two Oceans Digital. Some locals maintain that Hurricane Wilma on October 24, 2005, was the worst storm in memory. In the last several years, however, larger cruise ships have increasingly bypassed Key West due to the narrowness of the island's main ship channel. [31] Fortifications such as Fort Zachary Taylor,[32] the East Martello Tower,[33] and the West Martello Tower,[34] helped ensure that Key West would remain in Union control throughout the Civil War. Create an Account - Increase your productivity, customize your experience, and engage in information you care about. Among the group who went fishing was Joe Russell (also known as Sloppy Joe). The decision was met with considerable opposition from people who felt it would disrupt the tradition of watching the sunset at Mallory Square. Naval Air Station Key West is an important year-round training site for naval aviation due to the tropical weather, which is also the reason Key West was chosen as the site of President Harry S. Truman's Winter White House. [49], Harry S. Truman visited Key West for a total of 175 days on 11 visits during his presidency and visited five times after he left office. Snapper, grouper, cobia and kingfish make for a great catch for dinner. John Fleeming (nowadays spelled Fleming). Duval Street, its main street, is 1.1 miles (1.8 km) in length in its 14-block-long crossing from the Gulf of Mexico to the Straits of Florida and the Atlantic Ocean. The mayor is elected in a citywide vote. In 1815, the Spanish governor of Cuba in Havana deeded the island of Key West to Juan Pablo Salas, an officer of the Royal Spanish Navy Artillery posted in Saint Augustine, Florida. Spotlights Commission Adopted Budget Fiscal Year 2020/2021 . Explore the full city budget for the coming fiscal year. The mail route was known as the Key West, Florida – Havana Mail Route. [51], Legend has it that Ernest Hemingway wrote part of A Farewell to Arms while living above the showroom of a Key West Ford dealership at 314 Simonton Street[53] while awaiting delivery of a Ford Model A roadster purchased by the uncle of his wife Pauline in 1928.[54]. SUN 99.5 has Hoebee and Miss Loretta in the p.m. drive. Smugglers and privateers also used the Keys for concealment. In the 19th century, major industries included wrecking, fishing, turtling, and salt manufacturing. A fire on April 1, 1886 that started at a coffee shop next to the San Carlos Institute and spread out of control, destroyed 18 cigar factories and 614 houses and government warehouses. One mayor is also famous for having water-skied to Cuba. For every 100 females, there were 122.3 males. In mainland Florida peninsular areas like Orlando, Tampa/St. The Academy Award-winning film version of his play The Rose Tattoo was shot on the island in 1956. The new section on the eastern side is called New Town, which contains shopping centers, retail malls, residential areas, schools, ball parks, and Key West International Airport. Key West is the driest city in Florida, averaging just under 40 inches of rain per year. Early morning is the favored time for these showers, which is different from mainland Florida, where showers and thunderstorms usually occur in the afternoon. Contact Us. The Island of Key West is about 4 miles (6 kilometers) long and 1 mile (2 km) wide, with a total land area of 4.2 square miles (11 km2). exceeding his authority) as military dictator under martial law. Marathon | A local newspaper referred to Key West and the lower Keys as a "car graveyard". This paralyzed the Florida Keys, which rely heavily on the tourism industry. The warmest ocean waters anywhere on the United States mainland are found in the Florida Keys in winter, with sea surface temperatures averaging in the 75–77 °F (24–25 °C) range in December through February. Key West has had a military presence since 1823, shortly after its purchase by Simonton in 1822. Valerie Thene and Rosa Nagrere bring a new perspective to the Sustainability Board. Sign up to receive Florida Keys Travel offers! [81] The true original meaning of Conch applies only to someone with European ancestry who immigrated from the Bahamas, however. Construction began in 1861 on two other forts, East and West Martello Towers, which served as side armories and batteries for the larger fort. The Reynolds Street Pier, Higgs Beach,[45] the West Martello Tower, the White Street Pier, and Rest Beach line the waterfront. [17] No protests were made over the American claim on Key West, so the Florida Keys became the property of the United States. The southernmost point of the contiguous United States is Ballast Key, a privately owned island just south and west of Key West. Read on... View All /CivicAlerts.aspx. Hardware store owner Charles Thompson introduced him to deep-sea fishing. [12] The Key West International Airport provides airline service. "'The Most Exotic of Our Cities': Race, Place, Writing, and George Allan England's Key West". Mayors of Key West have reflected the city's cultural and ethnic heritage. In September 2005, NOAA opened its National Weather Forecasting building on White Street. [citation needed] The lowest recorded temperature in Key West is 41 °F (5 °C) on January 12, 1886, and January 13, 1981. [12] Concerns over environmental protection were considered a prominent factor in the failure of the 2013 referendum. Flags, T-shirts and other merchandise representing the Conch Republic are still popular souvenirs for visitors to Key West, and the Conch Republic Independence Celebration– including parades and parties –is celebrated annually, on April 23. Homes for sale in Key West, FL have a median listing price of $749,000 and a price per square foot of $595. Among its mayors are the first Cuban mayor and one of the first openly gay mayors. Together with all or parts of the separate islands of Dredgers Key, Fleming Key, Sunset Key, and the northern part of Stock Island, it constitutes the City of Key West. The six- or seven-toed polydactyl cats descended from Hemingway's original pet "Snowball" still live on the grounds and are cared for at the Hemingway House, despite complaints by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that they are not kept free from visitor contact. [69] The surge destroyed tens of thousands of cars throughout the lower Keys, and many houses were flooded with one to two feet (thirty to sixty-one centimeters) of sea water. The Navy's pier is called the Navy Mole. [93], This article is about the island and city in Florida. [49] John F. Kennedy visited Key West in March 1961, and in November 1962, a month after the resolution of the Cuban Missile Crisis. In total, other languages spoken besides English made up 25.33% of residents.[79]. - Increase your productivity, customize your experience, and engage in information you care about. Low-lying areas of Key West and the lower Keys, including major tourist destinations, were under as much as three feet (one meter) of water. In 2017, Hurricane Irma caused substantial damage with wind and flooding, killing three people. At the beginning of World War II the Navy increased its presence from 50 to 3,000 acres (20 to 1,214 hectares), including all of Boca Chica Key's 1,700 acres (690 ha) and the construction of Fleming Key from landfill. Many were sons and daughters of Loyalists who fled to the nearest Crown soil during the American Revolution. [62] Economic benefits from visiting cruise ship passengers are substantial but not attractive to all Key West citizens as the daily presence of thousands of tourists from cruise ships affects the character of the city, resulting in operation of facilities that cater to mass tourism rather than to an upscale clientele. Many of the residents of Key West were immigrants from the Bahamas, known as Conchs (pronounced "conks"'), who arrived in increasing numbers after 1830. In 1982, the city of Key West briefly asserted independence as the Conch Republic as a protest over a United States Border Patrol blockade. [68] The higher parts of Old Town, such as the Solares Hill and cemetery areas, did not flood, because of their higher elevations of 12 to 18 feet (4 to 5 m). [92], The main campus of Florida Keys Community College is located in Key West. He was a member of the city council. The Florida Keys travel guide offering information on things to do, accommodations and attractions in the Florida Keys. [51] The Little White House and Truman Annex take their names from his frequent and well-documented visits. After Florida was transferred to the United States in 1821, Salas was so eager to sell the island that he sold it twice – first for a sloop valued at $575 to a General John Geddes, a former governor of South Carolina, and then to a U.S. businessman John W. Simonton, during a meeting in a Havana café on January 19, 1822, for the equivalent of $2,000 in pesos in 1821. On average, rainfall markedly peaks between August and October; the single wettest month in Key West is September, when the threat from tropical weather systems (hurricanes, tropical storms and tropical depressions) is greatest. Many households in Key West will see a 25 percent discount on their bills. The unexpectedly high cost prompted Hemingway to put a penny in the wet cement of the patio, saying, "Here, take the last penny I've got!" [65] Like most tropical climates, Key West has only a small difference in monthly mean temperatures between the coolest month (January) and the warmest month (July) – with the annual range of monthly mean temperatures around 15 °F (8.3 °C). The United States Navy gave Porter the mission of countering piracy and the slave trade in the Key West area. Franklin Roosevelt toured the road in 1939. Commander Matthew C. Perry sailed the schooner USS Shark to Key West and planted the U.S. flag, claiming the Keys as United States property. This is driven primarily by Key West's relative dryness in May, June and July. One of these includes a letter from singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffet. See what’s new in Key West. Duval Street, the island's main street, is named after Florida's first territorial governor, who served between 1822 and 1834 as the longest-serving governor in Florida's U.S. history. On March 25, 1822, naval officer Matthew C. Perry sailed the schooner Shark to Key West and planted the U.S. flag claiming the Keys as United States property. The total land area of the city is 5.6 square miles (15 km2). Key West is an island located at 24°33′55″N 81°46′33″W / 24.565176°N 81.775794°W / 24.565176; -81.775794[1] in the Straits of Florida. In the late 1950s, many of the large salt ponds on the eastern side of the island were filled in. Key West is the southernmost city in the contiguous United States and the westernmost island connected by highway in the Florida Keys. Duval Street, its main street, is 1.1 miles (1.8 km) in length in its 14-block-long crossing from the Gulf of Mexico to the Straits of Florida and the Atlantic Ocean. Tennessee Williams first became a regular visitor to Key West in 1941 and is said to have written the first draft of A Streetcar Named Desire while staying in 1947 at the La Concha Hotel. [59], Even though Hemingway and Williams lived in Key West at the same time, they reportedly met only once—at Hemingway's home in Cuba, Finca Vigía.[60]. Some antebellum structures survive, including the Oldest (or Cussans-Watlington) House (1829–1836)[30] and the John Huling Geiger House (1846–1849), now preserved as the Audubon House and Tropical Gardens. The last Native American residents of Key West were Calusa refugees who were taken to Cuba when Florida was transferred from Spain to Great Britain in 1763. Key West Government is governed via the mayor-council system. Over the years, Key West has evolved into a wealthy little tourist town. Crewmen from the ship are buried in Key West, and the Navy investigation into the blast occurred at the Key West Customs House.

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