Key West

"Cayo Wesso". Bone Island named by Spanish who owned Florida at that time. The year 1819.Simonton, an Englishman bought island from a Spaniard and settled there three year later. 155 years ago.Key West is the southernmost city in the U.S.A.Flagler build Railroad from St. Augustine to Miami around the turn of the century. Then on the Key West. By 1912, the City of 35,00 people. Largest city in Florida, large cigar industry, sponge and fishing center. Fine harbor, great climate. U.S. Navy and Army bases. 70 miles west Ft. Jefferson on Dry Tortugas Key. Dr. Mudd.The railroad to Key West was called on of the wonders of the modern world. The railroad that went to sea connected with great freight car ferry boats to Havana and interior of Cuba. Pineapple trains to NY other points.Depression Days. Armly and Navy bases closed, greek sponge divers from Tarpon Springs more and more began to encroach on the Keys Sponge beds. Cigar Industry mostly moved to Tampa, Florida. Ad Days ofr Key West. People left in Droves. Thousands came to Miami and Tampa. City dropped to about 6 or 7 thousand, and most of those left were destitute. Governor of Florida and his relief administrator responded to their appeals for help from city and county officials. Rel. Adm. took over the town. Put all able bodies people to work. They tore down all the old dilapidated houses and abandoned cigar factories. Cle4aned up and painted up and started to build an overseas highway to connect Key West to the mainland. Also built a 150 mile pipeline to bring water to the city. Before they depended on rainwater or tank cars. BATH.Key West began a long climb back to normal with the completion of the overseas highway. The FEC Ry was destroyed for several miles in Hurricane of 1935 and they abandoned the entire line from Homestead South and sold right of way to overseas Highway and soon autos were driving across long railway bridges on a modern highway.Key West now a thriving city of approximately 40,000. Quaint and historical. Heminway lived there and wrote some of his famous novels. Audubon while studying and painting birds of Keys also lived there. Recent News on theft of jAudubon prints.President Harry Truman loved Key West and spent many vacations there and people there responded with affection and appreciation and named one of their main streets Truman Avenue.Great train excursion to Key West.Conclusion. Recently returned ti Key West . Tour of City on Conch train. thru Navy Yard, saw some of the small boats and rafts that have been used by Cuban refugees. I could not help but marvel and admire the courage of the men, women and children who set sail across the Florida straits in such frail and un seaworth craft. Freedom is a precious thing and these good people were willing to rish their lives to gain it.

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