Key West is without a doubt the top priority Key to visit when checking out the Florida Keys and why it’s one of the best states to move to. This is where all the action happens. And interestingly enough, the action has been taking place here for over 500 years.
We had the joy to learn all the cool facts and info firsthand during our bike tour of Key West – which is highly recommended!
Fun Facts About Key West
There are 42 bridges that connect Key West to the mainland of Florida.
The third-largest coral reef in the world is off the coast of Key West.
All of the sand on the beaches of Key West were shipped in from the Caribbean.
Because it can be accessed by land Key West is known as the Southernmost city in the country. It is closer to Cuba than it is to Miami.
People born in Key West are called Conchs.
There are three Civil War forts located on Key West.
Key West has the highest average temperature in the United States. It is the only city in the country that never gets frost.
Key West was home to the writer Ernest Hemingway, treasure hunter Mel Fisher, baseball player Boog Powell, and many other well-known figures.
Hemingway House was the first home in Key West to boast such luxuries as running water and a swimming pool.
Hemingway house is home to more than 60 six-toed cats that are direct descendants of a six-toed cat given to Hemingway by a friend.
The Naval Air Station in Key West takes up most of the island. It was selected because flight conditions are better in the Florida Keys than anywhere else in the US.
The original name for Key West was Cayo Hueso meaning: Island of Bones.
Duval Street in Key West is known as the longest street in the world because it runs from coast to coast.
Historic Facts About Key West
In Pre-Columbian times Key West was inhabited by the Calusa people.
In 1521 Ponce de Leon became the first European to visit Key West. He found it by mistake while looking for the fountain of youth. Instead, a small Spanish colony of fishermen was established here. Fishing remained one of the principal activities of the place and is now one of its main attractions.
Florida returned to Spanish control 20 years later.
1763 was the year when Great Britain took control of Florida and the Spanish and Native Americans inhabiting the Key West area were moved to Havana Cuba.
In 1821 Key West was sold to businessman John Simonton for $2,000
The pirates using them as a base were chased away by a fledgling U.S. Navy pirate fleet established here in 1822.
Commodore David Porter of the United States Navy took charge of Key West in 1823 as a military dictator under martial law to establish a naval base on the island.
In the 1830’s Key West was the wealthiest city per capita in the United States thanks to treasure retrieval from shipwrecks off the coast.
Back in 1889, Key West was the biggest city in Florida.
In 1912 the railroad bridges were finally completed. There was now a connection between the keys and the mainland.
The first international flight left from Key West. In 1927, the Pan American airlines flew a plane from Key West to Havana Cuba.
In 1935 a hurricane destroyed many of the railroad bridges.They weren’t reconstructed until 3 years later.
During the 80’s, the Florida Keys briefly declared independence from the US as a protest over a US border patrol blockade.
Festivals and Events in Key West
Fantasy Fest – October
Key West Food & Wine Festival January 22 – 26
Goombay Festival – June 1 to 3
Key West “Bight” Before Christmas – Right after Thanksgiving.
Hemingway Days Festival – July
Take a look at this article to find more information about traveling in Florida.
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