Key West is an Island in the straits of Florida at the southern most tip of the Florida keys. The Island is only about 4 miles long and 1 mile wide. In 1815, the Spanish Governor of Cuba deeded the Island of Key West to Juan Pablo Salas an officer of the Royal Spanish Navy. After Florida was transferred to the U.S. 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 business man John W. Simonton in 1822 for the equivalent of $2,000.00 pesos. Geddes tried in vain to secure his right to the property before Simonton who, with the aid of some influential friends in Washington was able to gain clear title of the island.
The florida land boom of the 20’s provided a boost in the fortunes of the city new hotels, and the construction of a vehicular highway allowed traffic from Miami to Key West. Ernest Hemingway made his first visit to Key West in 1928. He and his second wife arrived aboard a steamship while returning from France via Havana. They checked into a hotel awaiting a Ford roadster to be delivered, it took seven weeks for the car to arrive, and during this time Hemingway fell in love with the place, legend has it that he wrote his classic “A Farewell To Arms” during this his stay. He later purchased a home in the town and became one of it’s most famous citizens. After WWII President Harry Truman made Key West his favorite retreat. During the 8 years of his administration, Truman spent 11 working vacations in Key West. Truman saw Key West as the perfect island getaway, he spent so many days there the press dubbed it “Truman’s Little White House”.
The city’s has been affectionately called the “Conch Republic”. The micro nation declared as tongue-in-cheek secession of the city of Key West. The Conch Republic celebrates Independence Day every April 23rd as a part of a week long festival of activities it’s said to be one of the best parties in the Key’s. No official response to the secession was ever forth coming from the central government in Washington D.C.
Key West is certainly different from anywhere in the mainland. The clear blue waters and white sand beaches along with it’s unspoiled nature offer a variety of things to do. Duvall Street is one of the places to be in Key West. Running North to South from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean, from shore to shore the street is just over a mile long. At the end of the street is the buoy marker for the southernmost spot in the U.S. Duvall street represent the cultural ties to Cuba. There are many pleasant outdoor cafes to enjoy Cuban coffee. On certain nights, the Gulf shores of Duvall st. often vibrate with a carnival like atmosphere that last until dawn and beyond, the ritual has been called the “Duvall Pub Crawl” . Many of the city’s famous restaurants and bars are found on this street, like Sloppy Joes, and Jimmy Buffets Margaritaville which is the original.
The say the other original to Key West is the Key Lime Pie. The story goes in the 1800’s William Curry a prominent resident and Bahamian immigrant had a cook named Sally who concocted the first pie from key limes, we don’t know if the story is true but it is widely repeated.