We found a lovely Civil War fort right on Higgs beach that has been taken over by the Garden Club and made into a lovely, secluded park. The building is fascinating and the plantings throughout the gardens are amazing. Michael took lots of lovely pictures and I fell in love with a natural statue of a woman made out of palm fronds. Look at the detail and you can see sea grape leaves in her bustle and mussel shell jewelry. When we settle in Grenada, I’m going to make a Caribbean version or two ~ maybe with a carnival man as well.
We rode the Olde Town Trolley to get a 90 minute tour and overview of the island. It was interesting and fun but the seats were really cramped so it also felt good to get off!
Key West has had a very interesting history with lots of economic ups and downs. People who have been here for a while need a good sense of survival. There was a boom during the ship salvage years until laws changed, then bust. Another boom harvesting salt, then sponges and another boom with rolling cigars with the accompanying busts in between as those industries moved elsewhere. Flagler built a railroad all through the keys but at some point the southernmost bridges got washed away. The government built an aquarium to lure tourists here, 40K the first year, and then next year the bridge was gone.
Key West sided with the North during the Civil War because of Fort Zachary and later became the “Conch Republic” and declared its’ independence from the US in 1982 when the US government set up a blockage at the start of the Florida mainland that searched every car coming off the keys to look for illegal immigrants. This action was once again killing the Key West economy because it was taking 7 hours to get through the blockage. After a vigorous campaign that included newspaper and television coverage the blockage was lifted. Independence Day is still celebrated every April 23rd. I’m sorry we missed that but I’m sure it was a zoo and fun.
There are lots more interesting history that’s fun to read. If you are interested, check out http://www.keyshistory.org/keywest.html for more detailed information and fun facts.
I know we will walk the length of Duval Street at some point but it will need to be planned on a coolish day (overcast) and hopefully when there are no cruise ships in dock. We are also looking forward to a sunset sail so watch for a post and great pictures.