Florida's History Through Its Places
Dry Tortuga Islands FORT JEFFERSON NATIONAL MONUMENT 68 mi. W of Key West. 1846+ . Massive ruins of the largest of a chain of 19th-century American coastal forts. Hexagonal structure encompasses 16 acres. Walls 8 feet thick, 50 feet high, brick. Used in the Civil, Spanish-American and both World Wars to control the entrance to the Gulf of Mexico. Used as a military prison following the Civil War. Abandoned after World War II. Museum. Public. N.R. 1970.
Florida Keys OVERSEAS HIGHWAY AND RAILWAY BRIDGES Connects Florida Keys. 1912+. The 3 railroad bridges, now used as a highway, which span the major channels along U.S. 1 connecting Key West to the mainland, are among the few extant elements of the Key West Extension of the Florida East Coast Railway. These bridges were converted to vehicular use and incorporated into the federal highway program. Public. N.R. 1979.
Pigeon Key PIGEON KEY HISTORIC DISTRICT 1912. 17 buildings, 15 of historical interest. Frame and Masonry Vernacular. A base camp in the construction of the Florida East Coast Railroad's Florida Keys extension and later in the construction of the Overseas Highway. Includes workers quarters and other buildings. Hugh concrete trestles on the key are reminders of the difficulty of construction. Public and Private. N.R. 1990.
Key Largo AFRICAN QUEEN 99701 Overseas Highway. c. 1912. 30-foot open-hulled steam launch built in England. The hull is galvanized steel. Used on the rivers of Central Africa during its work life. Was used in the filming of the African Queen starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn. Private. N.R. 1992.
Key West DR. JOSEPH Y. PORTER HOUSE 429 Caroline St. 1838 (later additions). Eclectic. 2 and a half stories, frame, clapboard siding, mansard roof, 2-tier veranda. Birthplace of Dr. Joseph Yates Porter, III, Key West's first native-born physician. House combines Bahamian, New England, and French architectural elements. Private. N.R. 1973.
Key West EDUARDO H. GATO HOUSE 1209 Virginia St. c. 1890. Classical Revival with Italianate influence. 2 stories, frame, 2-tier porch. Built by Cuban immigrant Eduardo Gato, who founded the city's largest cigar factory (1876). Only briefly occupied by Gato. Later a school and then a hospital. Private. N.R. 1973.
Key West ERNEST HEMINGWAY HOUSE 907 Whitehead St. Late 19th century. Masonry Vernacular with classical elements. 2 stories, coquina limestone, stuccoed, 2-story veranda. French doors at main entrance. Built after the Civil War by Asa Tift, a prominent merchant. Made famous by Ernest Hemingway, the novelist, who purchased it in 1931 and resided in it for long periods throughout the rest of his life. Museum. Private. N.R. 1968.
Key West FORT ZACHARY TAYLOR U.S. Naval Station. 1845-1866. 3 stories, trapezoid-shaped, 3 seaward walls of 225 feet and a barracks area measuring 495 feet, walls 5 to 8 feet thick, reduced in height following Spanish-American War. Built at the time of the Mexican War to defend Key West, then Florida's largest city. Designed to withstand a long siege. Controlled by Federal forces in Civil War. Public. N.R. 1971.
Key West KEY WEST HISTORIC DISTRICT 1822-1920. Approximately 3100 buildings within 190 blocks. The district contains the greatest and most important concentration of wooden buildings in Florida. Buildings are of architectural, commercial, industrial, and military significance. Notable structures are Hemingway House, Audubon House, Porter House, Gato House. Key West throughout much of the 19th century was Florida's largest city. It maintained close relations with Cuba and had a cosmopolitan population. N.R. 1971, extended 1983.
Key West LITTLE WHITE HOUSE (Quarters A) U.S. Naval Station. 1890. Frame Vernacular. 2 and a half stories, clapboard, porches enclosed by wooden jalousies. Originally the commandant's quarters but often used during the administration of President Harry S. Truman as his fall and winter vacation home. He continued to use it after his term in office until 1969. N.R. 1974.
Key West OLD POST OFFICE AND CUSTOMHOUSE Front St. 1889-1891. Richardsonian Romanesque. William Kerr, architect. 3 and a half stories, central block with 2 wings, decorative terra-cotta and brickwork. Regarded as the finest example of Richardsonian Romanesque in the state. Functioned as post office and customhouse until 1932. Private. N.R 1973.
Key West THOMPSON FISH HOUSE, TURTLE CANNERY AND KRAALS 200 Margaret St. 1918-1944. Masonry Vernacular. The fish house is a 1 and a half -story concrete building with a gable roof. Long associated with the maritime industry in Key West, Thompson was mayor of the city and played a big role in Key West's political as well as economic life. Kraals were used to confine turtles. Private. N.R. 1994.
Key West U.S. COAST GUARD HEADQUARTERS, KEY WEST STATION NW corner of Front St. and Whitehead St. 1856-1861. Masonry Vernacular. J.M. Scarpitt, architect. 1 story, brick and limestone. Established as Naval Supply Depot (1856), served as Naval Administration Building until 1923. Absorbed by U.S. Coast Guard (1939). Private. N.R. 1973
Key West U.S. NAVAL STATION W side of Key West. 1845-1942. 23 structures built between 1845 and 1923, 1 erected in 1942, 4 freshwater cisterns and 4 elevated storage tanks. Masonry Vernacular is dominant style. The Post Office-Customhouse (1891) is a notable structure, as is the Little White House. Known as "the Gibraltar of the Gulf," the station commanded the entrance of the Gulf of Mexico from the Atlantic. N.R. 1984.
Upper Keys LIGNUMVITAE KEY ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND HISTORIC DISTRICT Glades II & III, A.D. 800-1513, First and Second Spanish periods, and the American period. A 280-acre island located about 1 mile north of mile marker 78. Designated Lignumvitae Key State Botanical Site in 1971. In addition to unusual flora and its prehistoric archaeological sites, the district includes the Matheson House complex of vernacular buildings dating from ca. 1919. The main house was rebuilt using coral rock after the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane. Accessed by boat, tours provided by park rangers. Public. N.R. 1999.
Upper Matecumbe Key FLORIDA KEYS MEMORIAL 1937. Located 81.5 miles north of Key West at the intersection of US 1, Monroe County Highway 905, and Johnson Street. A Moderne concrete, coral limestone, and ceramic tile crypt/monument erected to memorialize the victims of the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane. It was designed as a Federal Art Project and constructed by the Works Progress Administration. Public. N.R. 1995.
Vicinity of Key Largo CARYSFORT LIGHTHOUSE 12 mi. NE of Key Largo on Fl. 905. 1852. Screw pile. Howard Stanbury and Thomas E. Lannard, architects. Iron, 106 feet tall. 2-story keeper's quarters of iron and wood. Oldest of 6 screw-pile lighthouses on the Florida east coast. In continuous operation since built, it is now automated. Public. N.R. 1984.
Vicinity of Key Largo ROCK MOUND ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE and a half mi. W of U.S. 1. A.D. 100-A.D. 1300. Glades period. Large limestone mound, village and limestone ridges. Mound 1000 feet long, 55 feet wide. Possible ceremonial center. The only surviving rock mound in southeast Florida. Private. N.R. 1975.
Vicinity of Lower Matecumbe Key INDIAN KEY 1 mi. SE of Lower Matecumbe Key. 1825-1849. A low-lying island covered with tropical vegetation where Jacob Housman, in 1825, began a ship salvage empire. Later Henry Perrine, a physician and botanist, moved to the key to pursue botanical research. Indians attacked the island in 1840, killing 7 of its residents. Public. N.R. 1972.
Vicinity of Plantation Key SAN JOSE SHIPWRECK SITE 4.06 mi. SE of Plantation Key. 1733. Site of buried shipwreck. Most of the wooden keel and lower portion of the ship's ribs remain. Cannon still on site. On July 13, 1733, a fleet of 22 ships set sail for Havana. All but one were lost or crashed on the reefs of the keys, including the 326.5-ton San JosŽ y Las Animas, carrying silver coin and bullion. Public. N.R. 1975.