“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Key West, Florida Historical Markers

African Cemetery at Higgs Beach image, Touch for more information
By Marsha A. Matson, May 28, 2015
African Cemetery at Higgs Beach
Florida (Monroe County), Key West — F-432 — African Cemetery at Higgs Beach
Near this site lie the remains of 294 African men, women and children who died in Key West in 1860. In the summer of that year the U.S. Navy rescued 1,432 Africans from three American-owned ships engaged in the illegal slave trade. Ships bound for . . . — Map (db m84722) HM
Florida (Monroe County), Key West — F-983 — Alexander Cruz/ Julia Gardner House
The cigar industry of Key West dates from 1831, when the first cigar factory was established. After the 1868 Cuban War of Independence, Key West’s cigar manufacturing industry boomed, reaching its zenith at the turn of the twentieth century. In . . . — Map (db m127501) HM
Florida (Monroe County), Key West — Alfred Goldsboro Mayor
Alfred Goldsboro Mayor, who studied the biology of many seas and here founded a laboratory for research for the Carnegie Institution directing it for XVIII years with conspicuous success, brilliant versatile courageous utterly forgetful of self. He . . . — Map (db m9304) HM
Florida (Monroe County), Key West — Audubon House
Captain John H. Geiger, skilled pilot and master wrecker, built this house in 1830. It is typical of the era when, in 1832, the famed naturalist, John James Audubon, visited Key West to study and sketch the birds of the Florida Keys. On March 18, . . . — Map (db m81832) HM
Florida (Monroe County), Key West — 38 — Basilica of St. Mary Star of the Sea-Circa 1852-
Welcome to the oldest Roman Catholic Parish in South Florida. There is evidence that Spanish Jesuits serving in Cuba first attempted to establish a mission in Key West as early as 1724.The first Catholic Church on the island was dedicated February . . . — Map (db m101385) HM
Florida (Monroe County), Key West — 48 — Clinton Square
This monument represents two perspectives on how the Civil War affected the residents of Key West. The obelisk in the center of the memorial plot was erected by the Navy Club of Key West for the Union soldiers who lost their lives in Key West during . . . — Map (db m85270) HM
Florida (Monroe County), Key West — F-78 — Convent Of Mary Immaculate(1878)
Built by the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, a Canadian Order which first established a school here in 1868. Designed by William Kerr of Ireland, of Romanesque style, with dormered, mansard roofs and central tower. In the . . . — Map (db m101297) HM
Florida (Monroe County), Key West — 93 — Cornish Memorial AME Zion ChurchCirca 1864
Founded in 1864, Cornish Chapel members began building their church in 1885. Designed to resemble European cathedrals, it served as a place of worship, school, and refuge during inclement weather. The foundation was quarried from the site and its . . . — Map (db m101245) HM
Florida (Monroe County), Key West — F-701 — E.H. Gato Cigar Factory
The Gato Cigar Factory was constructed by Eduardo H. Gato in 1916. This Neo-Classical Revival, poured-concrete structure with a large central courtyard was constructed after an earlier wood frame factory on this site burned. Numerous windows . . . — Map (db m93305) HM
Florida (Monroe County), Key West — 17 — Eduardo Gato Cigar Factory
This is the second Gato cigar factory located on this site. The first structure was a wooden factory built in 1884 and destroyed by fire in 1915. The second factory was built as a hurricane and fire proof structure in 1920. It features large windows . . . — Map (db m99444) HM
Florida (Monroe County), Key West — F-765 — Eduardo H. Gato House
This house, with its elaborate Queen Anne style detailing, was built c. 1894 by E. H. Gato, Sr. (1847-1926). The Gato family was one of Key West's most prominent families, and three generations of the family lived here until 1951. Eduardo H. Gato . . . — Map (db m101296) HM
Florida (Monroe County), Key West — F-647 — Fort Taylor
Fort Taylor was constructed in 1845 as part of the Third Tier System of Defense which called for the establishment of masonry fortresses constructed along America’s coastline to prevent sea attacks upon the United States. This fort was an important . . . — Map (db m101356) HM
Florida (Monroe County), Key West — GunroomsFort Jefferson — Dry Tortugas National Park —
The 8- and 10-inch columbiads were standard U.S. cannon for coast defense. They were cast-iron, muzzle-loading smoothbores. The 8-inch weighed 9,210 pounds and when elevated 4” threw a 65-pound ball about a mile. From the top of the fort, the . . . — Map (db m100238) HM
Florida (Monroe County), Key West — In Memory of Dr. Samuel A. Mudd1833 - 1883 — Imprisoned Fort Jefferson, Florida (July 24, 1865) —
“...upon occasion of the prevalence of the yellow fever...Samuel A. Mudd devoted himself to the care and cure of the sick and interposed his courage and skill to protect the garrison...from peril and alarm, and thus...saved many valuable lives . . . — Map (db m9305) HM
Florida (Monroe County), Key West — F-658 — Key West Armory
This 1903 armory was described as "an unusual wood-frame building," and was one of the few armories built in the South due to lack of funds following the Civil War (1861-1865). The Italianate-style, Key West Armory incorporates an arched entrance, . . . — Map (db m85266) HM
Florida (Monroe County), Key West — F-551 — Key West Cemetery
Key West Cemetery was founded in 1847 following a hurricane the previous year that destroyed the earlier cemetery located near present day Higgs Beach. To protect from future flooding, the 19-acre cemetery was located here on Solares Hill, the . . . — Map (db m32660) HM
Florida (Monroe County), Key West — F-814 — Key West Woman's ClubMartin Hellings House
The Martin Hellings House, constructed c. 1892 by Captain Martin L. Hellings, is one of only a few historic houses in Key West not built of wood. Hellings was a native of Pennsylvania and a Union soldier in the Civil War. In 1881, Hellings married . . . — Map (db m84718) HM
Florida (Monroe County), Key West — Mallory Homesite
The home of Stephen Russell Mallory (1812-1873) stood near this site from 1839 to 1895 when it became U.S. Navy property. U.S. Senator from Florida from 1851 to 1861 and Chairman of the Naval Affairs Committee after 1853. As Secretary of the Navy in . . . — Map (db m84721) HM
Florida (Monroe County), Key West — Meacham Field
The first regularly-scheduled international flight by a United States airline was made from here to Havana Oct. 28, 1927. This inaugurated Pan American World Airways, which later spread through the Caribbean, around South America, and across the . . . — Map (db m127807) HM
Florida (Monroe County), Key West — F-916 — Milton W. Curry House, William Curry Homestead
William J. Curry, born on Green Turtle Key in the Bahamas in 1821, immigrated to Key West in 1837. Curry homesteaded this lot in 1852 and was Key West’s leading merchant for forty years. Wm. Curry Sons’ maritime business amassed a fortune during the . . . — Map (db m127502) HM
Florida (Monroe County), Key West — F-884 — Naval Depot and Storehouse-Building One-U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters
On September 13, 1833, the United States government purchased this harbor-front lot. The Naval Depot was authorized by an Act of Congress on July 21, 1852. Capt. J.M. Scarritt and Lt. J.J. Philbrick supervised the construction of this building. By . . . — Map (db m128058) HM
Florida (Monroe County), Key West — Naval Station1823 - 1974
Commodore David Porter established a Naval Station here on April 3, 1823 as a Supply Base for his 17-ship Anti-Pirate Squadron. The Station remained in constant operation from that date until its disestablishment on March 31, 1974. Although its . . . — Map (db m26835) HM
Florida (Monroe County), Key West — Navy Club of Key West Monument
Erected 1866 by the Navy Club of Key West To the Memory of the Officers, Sailors & Soldiers of the Army, Navy & Marine Corps of the United States who lost their lives in their Country's service upon this station from 1861 to . . . — Map (db m85331) WM
Florida (Monroe County), Key West — Navy Days at Fort JeffersonDry Tortugas National Park
In 1898, the U.S. battleship Maine sailed from this anchorage to her destruction in La Habana harbor. “Remember the Maine” became the rallying cry for the Spanish-American War that followed. The anchorage served the navy through . . . — Map (db m100241) HM
Florida (Monroe County), Key West — F-601 — Old City Hall
The City of Key West acquired this lot in 1871 and built a wood-frame city hall, dedicating it on July 4, 1876, during the nation’s Centennial. That building stood until it burned down in the devastating fire of 1886. The City then constructed this . . . — Map (db m84719) HM
Florida (Monroe County), Key West — F-989 — Phillip L. Cosgrove House, 1872
Captain Phillip L. Cosgrove, Sr., commanded the U.S. lighthouse tender Mangrove, the first rescue ship to aid victims of the 1898 explosion of the U.S.S. Maine in Havana harbor. This house, acquired by Cosgrove in 1871, incorporates remnants of . . . — Map (db m127808) HM
Florida (Monroe County), Key West — F-9 — Porter's Anti-Pirate Fleet
An outbreak of piracy in 1822 prompted the United States to organize the West Indian Squadron, an anti-pirate fleet. Commanded by Commodore David Porter, the squadron in 1823 included 17 ships and 1,100 men based in Key West. For two years the . . . — Map (db m72739) HM
Florida (Monroe County), Key West — Southernmost Point
The Conch Republic 90 Miles to Cuba Southernmost Point Continental U.S.A Key West, FL Home of the Sunset — Map (db m4793) HM
Florida (Monroe County), Key West — F-79 — St. Paul's Episcopal Church(1832)
Oldest in Florida Diocese, the present church (1912) is the fourth on this site. John Fleeming, one of the four original owners of the island, is buried here. His widow donated the property, stipulating that the church pews be free. Rectory built . . . — Map (db m84328) HM
Florida (Monroe County), Key West — The Dry Tortugas, Home to a Myriad of LifeDry Tortugas National Park
These coral islands surrounded by warm water are ideal habitats for birds, turtles, shellfish, coral, fish, and other form of ocean life. Nearby Bush Key is a spectacle of sooty and noddy terns during their March to September nesting season. View . . . — Map (db m100242)
Florida (Monroe County), Key West — The History of the Southernmost Point
In 1773 George Gauld, a British surveyor & cartographer, placed the Southernmost Point at 24°29'N latitude and 82°35'W longitude. At the time Cayo Hueso, now called Key West, was part of the Spanish Empire. John Simonton purchased the island . . . — Map (db m87412) HM
Florida (Monroe County), Key West — F-546 — The Little White House
Built in 1890 as quarters for Navy officers, the Little White House later was used by American Presidents William Howard Taft, Harry S. Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. Truman used the facility as a vacation . . . — Map (db m32655) HM
Florida (Monroe County), Key West — The Little White House
Built in 1890 on the waterfront as a two-family dwelling for the base commandant and paymaster, this building was known as Quarters A and B. It was converted into a single-family residence in 1911. President William Howard Taft visited this site in . . . — Map (db m32659) HM
Florida (Monroe County), Key West — F-724 — The Oldest Schoolhouse
Built about 1838 and moved to this location after the hurricane of 1846, the Patterson-Baldwin House is believed to be one of the oldest buildings in Key West. The Classical Revival style house is reputed to have been built, but never occupied, by . . . — Map (db m84333) HM
Florida (Monroe County), Key West — 68 — The Samuel O. Johnson House
Constructed in 1886 by Samuel Otis Johnson. The structure started out as a grocery and butcher shop as well as a residence. It was purchased in 1913 by Dr. William Richard Warren. Doctor Warren's medical offices consisted of the front porch used as . . . — Map (db m85272) HM
Florida (Monroe County), Key West — 6 — The Trev-Mor HotelCirca 1919 — Key West Historic Marker —
Built with bricks from Fort Taylor dating back to 1845, this building is one of Key West's first hotels. It featured a car dealership on the first floor and hotel rooms on the upper two floors. Ernest Hemingway and his wife stayed here in 1928, and . . . — Map (db m134524) HM
Florida (Monroe County), Key West — F-907 — United States Weather Bureau
On February 9, 1870, a joint Congressional resolution authorized a national weather service. As one of the original observation stations, Key West was critical for weather forecasters. The Department of Agriculture purchased this lot in 1903 on the . . . — Map (db m127504) HM
Florida (Monroe County), Key West — War of 1898On this site the Catholic Convent of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary was located
(side 1) In April of 1898 it was graciously offered and converted to a 400 bed United States Army Hospital for the treatment of soldiers and sailors, ill with dangerous tropical diseases or wounded in battle, during Cuba's War of . . . — Map (db m101295) HM
Florida (Monroe County), Key West — 54 — West Martello
This structure is one of three Civil War era forts in Key West. They were built as a defensive chain around the island and support for Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas. No cannons were ever fired and no soldier died in battle at this . . . — Map (db m85261) HM
Florida (Monroe County), Key West — F-990 — William Lowe Delaney/Theodore Holtsberg House
Connecticut mariner and wrecker Benjamin Sawyer built the first house on this property by 1844. From 1888-1890, much of Key West's port business took place in Sawyer's home, until the completion of the federal Custom House. Key West native and . . . — Map (db m127809) HM

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