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image for Audubon visits Key West in the Florida Keys

A Guide to John Audubon's visit to the Florida Keys 

 

 

CLICK image Above
for LODGING

Hotels and motels
Florida Keys
and Key West

 


AUDUBON IN THE FLORIDA KEYS


 

 

INDEX

  
AUDUBON


INDIAN KEY
1832


CORMORANT


ROSEATE
TERN


GRAY
KINGBIRD


REDDISH
EGRET


LOUISIANA
HERON


SANDY KEY


WHITE IBIS


WILLET

 
ZENAIDA
DOVE


WHITE
CROWNED
PIGEON


THE AUDUBON HOUSE IN
KEY WEST


AUDUBON'S
KEY WEST


KEY WEST AFTER
AUDUBON


ROSEATE
SPOONBILL


GREAT
WHITE
HERON


GREAT
BLUE
HERON


KEY WEST
DOVE


FLAMINGOS


BLUE-
HEADED
QUAIL DOVE


FRIGATE BIRD


BROWN
PELICAN


MANGROVE
CUCKOO


TORTUGAS


SOOTY
TERN


BLACK
HEADED GULL


BROWN
NODDY


CAYENNE
TERN


BROWN
BOOBY


SANDWICH
TERN


NIGHT
HERON


GREENSHANK


GREAT
MARBLED
GODWIT


MANGO
HUMMING-
BIRD


TROPIC
BIRD




BIRDING

LODGING


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Key West - 1884 to recent times

 

 Key West Sketch 1884

To the left of the sketch below which appeared in Florida for Tourists, Invalids, and Settlers one can see the causeway running to Fort Taylor. In the foreground is a mix of various types of homes and the Key West Lighthouse. Sailing ships can be seen in the harbor and a larger warehouse type building in the distance to the right of the lighthouse.

image of Key West 1884

 For a larger view click on the image.

 

 Comment from Florida for tourists, invalids, and settlers, a travel book published 1884 by George M. Barbour

"Key West is in Monroe County, on an island of the name of the city, of about twelve square miles. It is a Spanish-looking town of nearly 20,000 inhabitants, is lighted by gas, runs street cars, and is reached by telegraph.

It is a quaint and antiquated novel city, full of oddities and variety. Dr. Henshall says its buildings are all of all sizes and of every conceivable style or no style, of architecture; and they are promiscuously jumbled together, but are joined or seamed to each other by a wealth and profusion of tropical foliage, which surrounds, invests, surmounts, and overshadows them, softening the asperities, toning down the harsh outlines, and uniting the separate pieces, which merge their individuality in a harmonious tout ensemble. The writer sums up Key West's heterogeneous attractions in these words: 'And so, mansions, huts, and hovels, balconies, canopies, and porches, gables, hoods, and pavilions, pillars, columns, and pilasters, are mingled in endless confusion, but harmonized by arabesques of fruit and foliage, festoons of vines and creepers, wreaths and traceries of climbing shrubs and trailing flowers, and shady bowers of palm and palmetto, almond and tamarind, lime and lemon, orange and banana.' "

 

Key West - 1891 - Portion of description appearing in The Key West Daily Equator-Democrat written by visitor Lucie Vannevar.

"It is Key West's misfortune that steamers going and coming from Havana and other ports stop over some hours. This may seem a startling assertion, but we make it advisedly; and to us it seems the strongest reason why so little of the truth is known about the city and its surroundings.

Coming into one of the prettiest harbors on the coastline of this or any other country, the first impression of Key West as one steps ashore is not a pleasant one. The street leading up from the wharf is literally packed with carriages, the price of whose hire is so ridiculously low that, almost without exception, the whole ship's passenger list goes driving and in two hours have "done" the city, or think they have, and people scatter the country through and anathematize Key West as a place of small houses, dirty streets, cigar factories and Cubans.

Probably no other city in the Union has had such great injustice done as this one, and no other city is so little known. We made a careful study of Key West and so know of what we write.

And this is what we mean by calling the stopping off of tourists for a few hours a misfortune.

They drive around, imagine they have thoroughly explored the island, and nine times out of ten return home and tell absolute untruths quite unaware, because they themselves have received a false impression.

In very truth Key West is the most charming, as it is the most quaint of American cities, and some day Fashion will set her seal upon it.

Like some fair woman, none know Key West but to love her, but alas! so few know her as she really is, the city which by reason of her natural advantages should be the most attractive health resort in the world."

 

Key West - 1894 - Comment from a magazine article entitled "Subtropical Florida"

  "dusty old town" , "little of interest here to hold a tourist"

  

Key West - 1910

Winthrop Packard provided a much nicer description of Key West than the comments of Mark Twain in 1876 or that which appeared in the Subtropical Florida article referred to above. Packard's writing first appeared in a series of articles in the Boston Evening Transcript and were then published in a book entitled Florida Trails in 1910.

"The cleansing tides and the east winds which surge perpetually over the island keep the city of twenty thousand inhabitants serenely healthy on Key West, without wells or sewers, paving or street cleaning. Walking along the dusty streets where shack-like wooden houses are piled together in that good-natured confusion which marks the usual West Indian town one does not go far without having a sudden impulse to shout with delight, for soon all roads lead to the verge of the island, the rich, soothing breath of the trade winds and a glimpse of the miraculous sea. You may come upon this sight as often as you will, you will never get over the sudden stab of the delight of it . If environment is the matrix of beauty the inhabitants of this favored isle should in time rival the gods and goddesses of mythology. That they do not is probably because not enough generations have succeeded each other in these surroundings."

 

Key West - 1912

photo image of Key West in 1912

Click for larger panoramic image

In 1904 a panoramic camera called "Cirkut panoramic camera" was invented . This camera rotated on a tripod and was able to take a picture with a 360 degree field of view. If you would like a copy of this restored photograph size 9 by 54 inches contact stan@cirkutpanorama.com or go to http;//www.cikcutpanorama.com

 

photo image of Key West 1912

Click image for another panoramic photo

 

 

Key West -1934-35

Poet Robert Frost who wintered in the city in 1934-1935 during the time it was governed by the Federal Government (see Key West - 1934 below) apparently did not favor the city and wrote that Key West,

"is a very, very dead place because it has died several times. It died as a resort of pirates, then as a house of smugglers and wreckers . . . then as a winter resort boomtown."

He also wrote,

"There is no sanitation. The water is all off the roofs and after it goes through people I don't know where it goes. Everything is shabby and even dilapidated."

These quote are disceptive however as Frost must have enjoyed Key West since he returned there many times.

  

Key West, 1934 - Poorest city in America on Way to Becoming a Tourist Mecca

Key West once the richest city in the United States in terms of per capita income declared bankruptcy in 1934. The city was 5 million dollars in debt with eighty percent of its 12,000 inhabitants on welfare. Its population had dwindled from more than 26,000 in 1910 as a result of the depression and job losses. Shipwreck salvaging was no longer a means of income, the cigar making industry had moved to Tampa and the sponge industry had move to Tarpon Springs. The city couldn't pay its employees on a consistent basis and municipal services such the collection of garbage went undone.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, and Julius Stone, Jr.

Times were tough in Key West until actions by the Federal Government helped save the city. Thanks to Julius Stone, Jr. and the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) created by newly elected President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Key West got its start toward becoming a tourist Mecca.

Julius Stone, Jr., an administrator for the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, helped transform Key West by taking over administration of the city. He brought city planners, legal council, engineers, architects, and Federal funding of a million dollars.

Stone began by cleaning up the city with volunteers. He directed that garbage waste and trash be dumped in the ocean. He reasoned the Key West could be saved by making it into a tourist paradise. He saw Key West as America's only Caribbean island that people could drive to. He reasoned that by making Key West into a tropical tourist destination he could create employment for the local residents. He was in fact able to reduce unemployment by two thirds in less than a year. Stone began to promote Key west as America's Bermuda and started encouraging locals to wear Bermuda shorts to work. Through Stone's efforts and with volunteer support and Federal money, Stone replaced the city's primitive outhouses with a municipal sewer system, renovated the bankrupt Casa Marina Hotel and saw to it that the island's restaurants, bars, and nightclubs were cleaned and newly painted. Hundreds of guest cottages were renovated.

The infrastructure of the City was improved. Coconut palms were planted to instill a tropical feel, thatched huts were built on the island's beaches and scenic areas were landscaped. The State of Florida saw to it that work was resumed on the Overseas Highway, Key West's transportation link to the mainland.

photo image of beach cabanas in Key West 1940s 

thatched huts were built on the island's beaches

Key West began to promote itself as a tourist destination. An aquarium was built on Mallory Square. Hotels and guests houses saw increased business. Restaurants began to prosper. The Federal work program of the WPA brought in writers and artist . Their paintings and watercolors now graced the walls of the City and other Keys' locations, but were also used to promote tourism on brochures and postcards.

Critics described Stone as high handed, arrogant, undemocratic, and a dictator. He broke the rules, and at times he ignored Federal Emergency Relief Administration guidelines, and if he felt it needed doing he just went ahead and did it . Yet, after two years of under Stone's leadership, the City of Key was able to take back administration of government and was set on a path to becoming a tourist Mecca.

 

Hemingway.

"I'd rather eat monkey manure than die in Key West."

The above quote attributed to Ernest Hemingway by Joy Williams in The Florida Keys: A History and Guide was uttered "one summer day." while Hemingway was "sweating in the sulfuous, warm, and brownish waters of his swimming pool, years before he chose to die in Indiana." Hemingway lived in Key West during the years 1928 to 1940.

 

Get in Touch with Hemingway's Key West

Hemingway's Key West by Stuart B. McIver from Amazon. -

cover of Hemingway's Key West

For a vivid portrait of Key West during Hemingway's time of residence read Stuart B. McIver's book. Mclver's Hemingway's Key West describes Ernest Hemingway's experiences in tropical Key West in the 1930s during the time "Papa" Hemingway was at his most productive. While living in Key West in addition to writing some of his best short stories, Hemingway finished writing A Farewell to Arms, started For Whom the Bell Tolls, and wrote Green Hills of Africa, Death in the Afternoon, and To Have and Have Not. Hemingway also found time left for fishing, much drinking, and chasing women.

The book also provides a two-hour walking tour, exploring Hemingway's favorite Key West haunts, and describes Hemingway's experiences in Bimini and Cuba. While in Cuba Hemingway wrote his Pulitzer and Nobel Prize winning "The Old Man and the Sea".

 

Hemingway describes Key West in To Have and Have Not - cover of Hemingway's To Have and Have Not

To Have and Have Not , Hemingway's only book set in America, published in 1937, and set in and near Key West, Florida, is nothing like the Bogart/Bacall movie of the same title. The movie stars Bogart as a brave fishing-boat captain in World War II-era Martinique. As most Hollywood movies would have it Bogart battles the Nazis, aids the Resistance, and finds true love in the end. Hemingway's novel concerns a down and out fishing-boat captain who must carry contraband between Cuba and Florida in order to feed his wife and daughters.

In addition to his writing pursuits, drinking, fishing and hanging out with his Key West buddies, Hemingway often enjoyed evening walks through Key West. A good description of 1930s "Conch Town" in the evening hours appears in Hemingway's To Have and Have Not .

The moon was up now and the trees were dark against it, and he passed the frame houses with their narrow yards, light coming from the shuttered windows; the unpaved alleys, with their double rows of houses; Conch town, where all was starched, well-shuttered, virtue, failure, grits and boiled grunts, under-nourishment, prejudice, righteousness, inter-breeding and the comforts of religion; the open-doored, lighted Cuban bolito houses, shacks whose only romance was their names; The Red House, Chicha's; the pressed stone church; its steeples sharp, ugly triangles against the moonlight; the big grounds and the long, black-domed bullk of the convent, handsome in the moonlight; a filling station and a sandwich place, bright-lighted beside a vacant lot where a miniature golf course had been taken out; past the brightly lit main street with the three drug stores, the music store, the five Jew stores, three poolrooms, two barbershops, five beer joints, three ice cream parlors, the five poor and the one good restaurant, two magazine and paper places, our second-hand joints (one of which made keys), a photographer's, an office building with four dentists' offices upstairs, the big dime store, a hotel on the corner with taxis opposite; and across, behind the hotel, to the street that led to jungle town, the big unpainted frame house with lights and the girls in the doorway, the mechanical piano going, and a sailor sitting in the street; and then on back, past the back of the brick courthouse with its clock luminous at half-past ten, past the whitewashed jail building shining in the moonlight.

 

The Key West Reader

The Key West Reader: The Best of the Key Wests Writers 1830-1990 by George Murphy (Editor), Thomas McGuane, Ernest Hemingway, Caputo

Over the past century, the island city of Key West has been home to many Pulitzer Prize Winners and other esteemed writers: Erenest Hemingway, Tennesse Williams, John Hersey, Tom McGuane, Phil Caputo, James Merrill, Elizabeth Bishop, Richard Wilbur, and Hunter S. Thompson, to name just a few.

Here, for the first time, an anthology which celebrates the literary heritage of Key West: the island seen through the eyes of twenty-five of its most renowned writers.

 
cover of The Key West Reader

Review by Island Life of Key West :

The Key West Reader is a spectacular collection... So many diverse writers sharing one thing in common, the Island of Key West, where each, in his or her own way, left their mark.

It is consistently readable and a constant source of fascination that this tiny island city could be the source of so many fine pieces of writing...

Particularly notable is the rare essay "Who Killed the Vets," Ernest Hemingway's first-hand account of the 1935 hurricane (still the strongest in recorded history) which washed out Henry Flagler's Overseas Railroad and killed thousands.

 

KEY WEST BIRDING AND PLACES FOR LODGING

 

LODGING - ACCOMMODATIONS - ATTRACTIONS - ACTIVITIES

 

 

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Attractions and Activities in the Florida Keys and Key West

   

 


Meet Me In Margaritaville: The Ultimate Collection by Jimmy Buffett

 

cover to Meet Me in Mrgaritaville by jimmy Buffett

 

Click on Jimmy's Albumn cover above and you will be able listen to song samples of Margaritaville, Migration, Growing Older But Not, Holiday (Live/New Recording) Up, and Come Monday

Editorial Reviews : Amazon.com

Jimmy Buffett may have made his millions, but that doesn't mean that he has eased up on his workload. After releasing 33 albums, mounting grueling annual tours, and fashioning an entire industry and lifestyle out of his signature song "Margaritaville," Buffett trots out this two-CD collection. Yet, Meet Me in Magaritaville, which spans 30 years, isn't merely a retread of his long, storied career. Buffett has written two new songs for the package and re-recorded six alternative versions of fan favorites (including a moving version of "The Captain and the Kid," which he included for his ailing father, who died shortly after the album's release). He's also added two new cover songs--a spicy bossa nova version of Fred Neil's "Everybody's Talking" and the Beach Boys' "Sail on Sailor"--as well four live tracks, which shows the singer at his best, conjuring up his own Yuppie Atlantis, an idyllic place where no one has to wear shoes, the sun is always shining, the bar never closes, and Junior Mints are always available at every cinema. A must-have collection for every Parrothead (or aspiring Parrothead), if only for Buffett's track-by-track descriptions. --Jaan Uhelszki

 

 

 

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