of Key West can be found walking the streets. During your mile and a
quarter stroll through old town, your guide will point out the blend
of architecture, plant life and culture that make Key West unique.
Walking Tour Highlights:
Get an overview of Key West's history
Lean about U.S. Navy
Beginning with the early days of
wrecking, through sponging, cigar manufacturing and U.S. Navy
influences, you will experience the lives and livelihoods of Key West'
most notable citizens. Tropical foliage will shade the walkways as
we make our way through the quieter areas of town.
The historic district in Key West is the largest collection of
wood frame buildings in Florida and today, there are more than 3,000
historic homes and sites in Key West, and more than 10% are on the
National Register of Historic Places. Many of the homes in Key West
were built during the Victorian Era, although they do not necessarily
follow the classic form.
In the process of building the early homes on Key West, a feature that
was common in one style would often be used in a house built in a
different style, all at the whim of the owner. Thus creating the
architectural stew we have today.
U.S. President, Harry S Truman made 11 presidential visits to Key
West beginning in 1945 and ending in 1953, totaling 175 days of his
Presidency. He stayed on the Navy Base in Quarter A & B, which
essentially functioned as a Little White House. Today, the Harry S
Truman Little White House is the only Presidential Museum in the State
of Florida and is featured on the tour.
The first large scale naval presence on Key West was in 1822-23,
when Commodore David Porter arrived with his Anti-Piracy Squadron, the
'Mosquito Fleet'. Commodore Porter used a fleet of shallow draft
vessels and five, 20-oared barges towed by a steamboat to continue
pursuit of the pirates as they retreated into shallow waters.
Commodore Porter was successful in his campaign against pirates, thus
providing safe passage for merchant vessels through the 'Straits of
Key West has played a role in every U.S. Naval conflict since the
1820's and still provides a service to the U.S. Navy and will continue
to do so in the years to come.
Learn about Key West and the fascinating history of this island on the
Historic Key West Walking Tour.