Sights and Scenes: Key West

A photographic walk through the historic core of one of South's most walkable cities: Key West

About Key West

Dating back to the early 1820s, Key West was the largest city in Florida until being surpassed in population by Jacksonville during the 1890s. The original Spanish name for the island is Cayo Hueso, meaning “bone cay” because it was said to have been a communal graveyard of native inhabitants.

Closer to Havana, Cuba than Miami, during the early 1800s, Key West was considered the “Gibraltar of the West” due to its location on the shipping lane between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Today, it remains one of the south’s most preserved and walkable cities.

Key West International Airport

Due to the airport’s short runway, flights departing the Key West International Airport must do so with weight restrictions. Delta’s route to and from Atlanta is the busiest route serving the airport.

On April 23, 1982, the Conch Republic declared secession of the Florida Keys from the United States in response to a border patrol check point in Florida City requiring all vehicles to be searched for illegal immigrants.

Old Town

Designated as a National Register Historic District in 1971, the Key West Historic District is also known as Old Town. Covering the western half of the island, this pedestrian friendly district contains nearly 2,500 historic buildings and structures.

Added to the National Register in 1973, the Custom House is now occupied by the Key West Museum of Art & History. The building was originally completed in 1891.

Mallory Square is a public plaza located in the heart of Key West’s historic Old Town waterfront.

Located at 428 Greene Street, the building occupied by Captain Tony’s Saloon was originally constructed in 1852 as an ice house that double as the city morgue. Over the years, it has also been used as a cigar factory, bordello and several speakeasies.

The Sidney M. Aronovitz United States Courthouse, also known as the Key West Federal Building, was built between 1930 and 1932.

A view of Simonton Street from the front porch of the Simonton Court Hotel.

The central courtyard of the Simonton Court Hotel.

Walking along Simonton Street.

Walking on Southard Street.

Walking on Elizabeth Street.

Walking on Windsor Lane.

The Key West Cemetery dates back to 1847. It was established after a hurricane destroyed much of an earlier cemetery.

It is estimated that more than 100,000 people are buried on the 19 acre cemetery.

The Olivia Street Grocery at Olivia Street and Windsor Lane.

The Basilica of St. Mary Star of the Sea is the oldest Roman Catholic Parish in South Florida. The current building was dedicated in 1905 after a previous structure was destroyed by fire.

The Mermaid & The Alligator is a traditional bed and breakfast located in a circa 1904 home along Truman Street.