Thursday, April 06, 2017

Key West, Fascinating History


Cudjoe Key, Florida (high 85, low 68)


We haven’t gotten the boat out yet. Al is trying to put a 2nd bilge pump in, the boat seat needed to be rebuilt,  plus our dive platform broke, so that’s another project.  Working on boats is very much like working on RV’s.  Nothing is ever easy or quick. 

It is starting to feel like summer here, so we try to plan our outdoor activities early.  Fortunately, we are morning people, so sunrise is something we frequently see!  To properly explore Key West, you really need to walk.  You can park in Key West for free before noon on Sundays, so that’s a great day to explore. 

Some days we head uptown and some days we head downtown (towards Key West).


The Old Town section in Key West is quite interesting. There is a lot of history in Key West and there seems to be a never ending list of things we want to see and do.  We’ve been coming to the Keys quite a few years now and still haven’t come close to seeing all that Key West has to offer.

The other morning, we stopped at McDonalds for a quick breakfast.  We noticed the car parked next to us and of course if there is a cat anywhere around, I will spot it.

Homeless people

Can you see it?  There is a yellow cat on the dash.  The window is cracked enough that the cat could have gotten out, which concerned me.

We waited for the young couple to come back to the car.  They were obviously living out of the car. They bragged that they came all the way to Key West from North Carolina.  I wanted to tell them, to turn around and go home.  Key West is not exactly cheap.

We gave them $11 for breakfast as they were obviously living out of their car.  It was all the cash we had on hand and I said I was sorry it wasn’t more.  He told me thanks, that was more than they had.  Oh brother!   Came to Key West with NO MONEY?   How could they be that stupid? 

As it turned out, they have two cats AND a puppy.   It was SO hot that day and we felt particularly bad for the animals.  The people had a choice as to their circumstances.  The animals did not.

We left and went to Publix, got some cash, water and pet food, but by the time we got back they were gone.  We haven’t seen them since, but are still carrying about the pet food.  Hopefully they wised up and went home. Dumb ass kids.

In Key West, every one wants to be the southernmost of whatever type of business they are.  The southernmost dive shop, bar, hotel, house, gift shop…  You name it.  Some one wants to claim the fame of being the southernmost.


This is the southernmost point in the United States.  The fence you see on the right is the barrier between the Naval Air Station and Key West.

Southernmost point

Both of our fathers were military and Al and I both lived on Air Force bases.  Neither one of us ever had such a beautiful view out of our back yard.

Here is the base housing.  I’m shooting thru a fence, but you get the idea.

Base housing NAS

Here is their back yard view.  Yep, much better than we ever had.

back yard view of base housing NAS


There are a lot of old churches in Key West.  Most of them seem to be Catholic.  (warning….. if you get offended by anything to do with religion, you might want to quit reading now).


This particular church was right on Truman street, which is another place you can park for free.  Parking is between 3.50 and $4. an hour to park, so free parking is always good.

The church grounds were beautiful and inviting, so we took a walk around.







Notice all the rock with the coral?















Keep up the good work











The church was initially a Canadian order and had history back to 1868. The  Sisters offered their services to the Navy in the treatment of yellow fever during the Spanish American War.




Colonel Teddy Roosevelt fought in Key West with his Rough Riders.  This was the war where Cuba obtained their independence, the US obtained both Guam (where Al and I met) and the Philippine Islands.



Take a minute to read the signs if you can.



This church was turned into a hospital at the time and was the first place the x-ray was used to find bullets and shrapnel, saving patients from exploratory surgery. 


We strolled down Truman Ave and discovered a few restaurants to try at a later point.   Made to order burritos.  Sounds good to me!

bad boy buttito


This next building was an old cigar factory with it’s own history.

E.H. Gato Cigar factory


This is one of the first integrated workplaces in America and also where a lot of planning and fundraising was done in effort to free Cuba from Spain.  

E.H. Gato Cigar factory


E.H. Gato Cigar factory


You never know what you’ll find strolling down the streets in Old Town Key West.


gnarly trees



gnarly tree





Flowering trees





Shady spots to sit. 



Weather Prediction help

Key West Weather Station


This is a Kapok tree.  I had to take the picture from the car, but I will go back and try again.  Look at the bottom of the tree.  Isn’t is amazing?

Kapok tree


Kapok tree


Another “southernmost”




There are so many areas in Old Town to explore.  Next time, we’re planning on exploring the old cemetery and maybe even the Truman House.

Today, might get us to the “jumping bridge”.


Stay tuned.


  1. Poor animals. People are so insensitive. Hope they had food for the animals. You two are the heart of kindness. I had no idea you met in Guam. Now that is pretty seriously unusual as a place to meet your spouse..

  2. What a nice tour of some of the areas in the Keys. Love the church!! I also really like that kapok tree. Seems like I remember reading a book to my students once about a kapok tree.
    I worry about those poor animals with the dumb kids!! How do you take off like that with no money....crazy!!

  3. Stupid people, they have no concern about their animals. If they want to live in a car, they shouldn't have animals. Animals don't deserve to be treated like that. Nice of you to try and see to the animals well being. Hopefully more folks will do what you did and provide more care to them than their owners did.

  4. Unfortunately there are a lot of people that do that with not only their pets but their young children.
    Those pictures are bringing back memories. The beauty and strength of the Kapok Tree is amazing as it has stood steadfast through many high winds storms and Hurricanes.
    You will have to return to Our Lady of Lourdes and walk around the Grounds. There is a lot of interesting Stone Work and Landscaping.
    Wishing you both the best.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

  5. PS I am missing Baxter! He is my favourite cat in the whole world. Have fun you 2.
    Kathy from It's about time!

  6. Poor animals, they really don't deserve such treatment. that's unbelievable how people think only about themselves. RentAL24h


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