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Key West Historic Attractions Guide
Rudy Molinet, Broker/Owner
Marquis Properties Realty
933 Fleming Street
Key West, FL 33040
History Comes Alive in Key West MuseumsKey West Shipwreck Historeum Museum
During the 19th Century, more than 100 ships passed the treacherous reefs off Key West every day. At least once a week, one of them would wreck along the Florida Keys. If you'd like to experience Key West as a bustling, boisterous sea town on the frontier of a young America, the Shipwreck Historeum and Museum will give you a glimpse at 19th century life and the wrecking industry's influence on the island's society.
Mel Fisher Maritime Museum
One of the most famous shipwrecks was that of the Nuestra Senora de Atocha which sank, along with its sister ship, the Margarita, off Key West in a hurricane in 1622. In 1985, after 16 years of searching, treasure hunter Mel Fisher uncovered a $450 million mother lode of the Atocha gold and silver. More than 40 tons of treasure were pulled from the deep including more than 100,000 "Pieces of Eight" (Spanish silver coins), gold coins, Columbian emeralds, numerous silver and gold artifacts and more than 1,000 silver bars. Mel Fisher's Maritime Museum tells the story.
Pirate Soul Museum
If you still haven't seen enough treasure, the Pirate Soul Museum boasts of the largest collection of authentic Pirate artifacts under one roof. Step back in time and experience the world as Blackbeard did in this interactive museum. See Port Royal Jamaica, the Rogue's Tavern, Execution Dock, Blackbeard's Demise and the Treasure Cave and learn about the women who were pirates.
Key West Lighthouse
Climb the 88 steps to the observation deck of Key West's Lighthouse for spectacular views of the island and surrounding waters. The lighthouse was built in 1847 to help ships navigate the coral reefs offshore. The tower and nearby Keeper's Quarters have been faithfully restored and maintained as they were before the lighthouse was deactivated in 1969.
Historic Homes and Tropical Gardens
Hemingway Home & Museum
Almost synonymous with Key West is the most influential American novelist of the 20th Century, Ernest Hemingway. For literary buffs, his first US home is a must for Key West visitors, and the garden is enchanting. Hemingway's six toed cats continue to amuse visitors to the house and gardens and can be found all over the island.
The next stop for anyone interested in presidential and naval history is Harry S. Truman's Little White House. Located in the area now called Truman Annex, the 1890 house was originally initially served as the command headquarters of the Key West Naval Station during the Spanish American War, World War I and World War II. President Truman spent 175 days in Key West during his term of office. The house has hosted many presidents and dignitaries since.
Nancy Forrester's Secret Garden
Arguably the most beautiful garden in Key West, Nancy Forrester's Secret Garden will take you back to the tropical jungle that covered the island when the Indians first inhabited the Isle of Bones. Indeed, it's the last undeveloped, wooded acre in Old Town. "Key West's rainforest" is renowned for its beauty, the many shade palms, aroids, ferns, rare and endangered plants, and the large, colorful Macaw parrots.
The Audubon House
Also worth a stroll is the Audubon House especially if you are interested in 18th century antiques. Audubon didn't live there – the house was built by Key West's first harbor pilot, Captain John Huling Geiger – but when Audubon visited in visited the Keys in 1832, he took cuttings from the property and used them in the backgrounds of paintings of some of the 18 new species he found in the Florida Keys. The original of the Crown Pigeon with a "Geiger Tree" in the background still hangs in the house.