Why should you buy a Canal Home?

Is your Dream Home an waterfront mansion with a large pool, a beach, the ocean as your property line? I know mine is but since I didn't win Power Ball this week I have to live more in reality. Open water homes are fantastic and there are plenty of them to choose from in the Florida Keys if you would like me to show you a few of them. Another option to be on the water without the open water price tag is a canal home. Canal homes are a great alternative for people who want to have their boat in the backyard. This way you can get in and go rather than trailering it to the boat ramp and launching it. The less time you spent bring your boat to the water is more time you can spend enjoying your boat on the water. A lot of boaters prefer a canal over open water because of the protection the canal offers your boat. Having your boat on the open water can make it a victim of other boats' wakes and the weather Mother Nature throws our way. The canal and houses on it will offer your boat some extra protection. Canal homes are rarer in Key West than in the other Keys because we only have one true canal, the Riviera Canal with limited homes for sale. No need to worry though, if you want a home on the Riviera Canal I can find you one.

Are you looking for a change in scenery? Is your current home not suiting your needs? If you live in the Florida Keys and would like a change of pace, or even if you live out of the state and want to shake things up for good, why not explore the idea of waterfront canal living? There are many reasons to consider this option, but let’s take a look a few of the most common reasons people choose to buy a canal home. 

Perhaps the most striking appeal of living in a canal home is the easy access to waterways. From swimming to kayaking to boating and everything in between, canal living offers endless opportunities for fun on the water. It also can cost you less money in the long run and help you avoid unnecessary trips to the marina if you have boat lifts in the Florida Keys. A boat life is kind of like an elevator for your boat. I's main advantages is it keeps your boat elevated out of the saltwater when you're not using it and it will put your boat level with the land making it easier to get in and out. Imagine walking out your backdoor, hopping on the boat and heading out for a day on the water. This kind of ease is hard to find apart from canal living.

You will also have your own aquarium in the backyard. Many people who live on the canal will clear their dinner plates in the water bringing the fish in to eat. Same concept of feeding a stray cat. You feed them and they will stick around. In the wintertime in south Florida, canals become home to manatees seeking warmer water. You can see hundreds of these mammals at a time from your backyard, often accompanied by their young. This type of home also provides viewing opportunities for fish, turtles and aquatic birds, to name a few. Studies have shown that spending time in nature can have several substantial health benefits, too. Connecting with nature couldn’t be easier than stepping into your backyard.

Owning a canal home allows you to experience the best of both worlds, living in a residential neighborhood while also enjoying the perks of waterfront living. Homes of this type give residents the privacy of a single-family house, a luxury which is often sacrificed by living in a waterfront condo or apartment building. When you live in a residential area, neighbors are there when you want to be social, but you never have to worry about passing them in the hall every day on the way to and from your condo. Condos are great for those of you who want the views, don't want the maintenance but if you want your boat to be 20 feet from your back door you want a house on the canal. Give me a call and let's start looking for your dream home today.


Gary McAdams
Realtor and Notary Public
Barbara Anderson Realty
Key West, Florida 

Key West Cemetery, who said graves can't be fun?

Located in Old Town, the Key West Cemetery has been around since 1847 and is well worth at least a walk-through. Te cemetery is in a section of Old Town called Solares Hill. The land where the cemetery is 
located is also the highest part (above sea level) of all of Key West. The quirkiness of the city's residents extends even to the grave. Tombstones in this 19-acre cemetery don't wear the typical inscriptions. Instead, you'll find epitaphs that reflect the island's casual lifestyle. Some of the more well-known inscriptions include the wife of the only Doctor in Key West at the time, Dr. Roberts who was the island hypochondriac saying "I told you I was sick" and another saying "I'm just resting my eyes." One tombstone is actually a ship's mast. While you're here, take note that many of these burial plots actually have multiple people stacked on top of one another.

Many recent travelers compared the cemetery to those found in New Orleans, thanks to the prevalence of the above-ground graves. Reviewers also said it reflects the "eclectic" citizens of the Keys. I never would have thought touring a cemetery would be "Fun" but the Key West Cemetery is a lot of fun and then some.

Key West Cemetery is free for anyone to walk through, but you should also consider taking a guided tour, offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9:30 a.m. for a moderate fee; advance reservations are required. You can also pick up a map for a self-guided tour at the cemetery's front office, which is open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The cemetery is open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The guided tours will save you a lot of time finding the "Funny Graves" which will give you more time to do the many other fun things in Key West.

We have
something for everyone in Key West. No matter what your reason for visiting our island we will keep you busy. Be sure to put a trip to the cemetery on your to do list. It is well worth the time and it's free.


Gary McAdams
Realtor and Notary Public
Barbara Anderson Realty
Key West, Florida 

Florida Keys (Monroe County) COVID Rules and Policies keeping us all safe

Monroe County, being a tourist destination has very strong COVID rules. We have people flying in and out every day. If you are planning a vacation to the Florida Keys, are open and are taking every precaution to protect our visitors and residents from COVID.

There is a strictly enforced mask law in the Keys and law enforcement and code compliance officers are out there making sure it is followed. The  ordinance requires operators and employees of business establishments to ensure customers comply within the establishment. A face covering MUST cover the nose and mouth and may include a face mask, homemade mask, or other cloth, silk, or linen covering, such as a scarf, bandana, handkerchief, or other similar cloth covering.

The facial covering ordinance applies throughout Monroe County and the municipalities, but the municipalities may impose different protective measures.

Any business establishment prosecuted under this subsection and found in violation of this ordinance may be punished by a fine of up to $500. Code officers can also issue an administrative notice of violation with fines of up to $1,000 for a first offense and $5,000 for a repeat offense. Each day a violation of this ordinance occurs is considered a separate offense.


  • Restaurant or bar customers while dining while seated at a table and consuming food and/or beverages.
  • A gym patron engaged in a workout or class where at least 6 feet of distancing exists with the next closest patron. 
  • Barbershop or beauty salon customers or patrons when wearing a face covering would reasonably interfere with receiving services.
  • Business owners, managers, and employees who are in an area of a business establishment that is not open to customers, patrons, or the public, provided that 6 feet of distance exist between employees. This exception does not apply to employees who are present in the kitchen or other food and beverage preparation area of a restaurant or food establishment.  When an owner, manager, or employee is in their place of employment but not within six feet of another person, that owner, manager, or employee does not need to wear a mask.
  • A lodging establishment guest when inside of the lodging unit.
  • The owner, operator, manager, and employee of a business or lodging establishment shall ensure that every individual in that establishment complies with this section.

Florida Keys Coronavirus Cases

January 26 Update: This will only be updated Monday through Friday.

There are 15 new cases today in Monroe County, including 8 more in Key West; 2 more in each Marathon, Tavernier & Summerland Key; and 1 more in each Non-Residents & Cudjoe Key. One case has been recategorized from Big Pine Key.

  • Monroe County: 5,199 total cases
  • Non-residents: 265
A majority of the infections are community-acquired. It is critical to wear a mask, avoid crowds, social distance, and wash your hands frequently.

  • Key West: 2,604
  • Key Largo: 746
  • Tavernier: 350
  • Marathon: 575
  • Islamorada: 156
  • Big Pine Key: 107
  • Summerland Key: 142
  • Cudjoe Key: 46
  • Sugarloaf: 21
  • Stock Island: 62
  • Key Colony Beach: 34
  • Long Key: 22
  • Little Torch: 18
  • Big Torch: 1
  • Rockland Key: 3
  • Duck Key: 6
  • Ramrod Key: 10
  • Missing Cities: 24
  • Homeless: 1
  • Plantation Key: 2
  • Conch Key: 3
  • Cross Key: 2
  • Monroe County Deaths, reported by the State: 39

Current Hospitalizations

(does not take into account those hospitalized outside of Monroe County)

  • Lower Keys Medical: 3
  • Fisherman's and Mariners (Baptist): 6

Hospital capacity changes based on current patients and staffing. This is a very fluid situation and the figures can change throughout the day based on patient admissions and discharges. The presented numbers only show a snapshot of a single moment in time in a dynamic situation. Both Baptist and Lower Keys Medical are currently in the green, meaning they have enough supplies, staffing, and resources for the next 7 days or longer. When they go to yellow, it means they have fewer than 7 days, and red is for fewer than 3 days. Emergency Management is monitoring their needs on an ongoing basis.

The hospitals are currently managing the care of COVID-19 patients in care spaces at the hospitals that be expanded or contracted as needed. To date, neither hospital entity has had expand the spaces, but it is available if necessary. In the event of a significant surge of cases in our community, the hospitals and Emergency Management would work collaboratively with state health officials to identify other resources to provide care for those who need it. 

Total Cases By Month (Approximate)

  • March: 33 new cases
  • April: 46 new cases
  • May: 29 new cases
  • June: 151 new cases
  • July: 1,041 new cases
  • August: 434 new cases
  • September: 124 new cases 
  • October: 443 new cases
  • November 1,044 new cases
  • December 805 new cases
  • January 1-27 15 new cases

Current case information can be found at https://floridahealthcovid19.gov. On the dashboard, look under “See the Report” for detailed information by county, including testing numbers and geographic locations or “See dashboard” for summaries by county.

The Florida Dept of Health officially confirms new cases. Cases are a total count of all laboratory-confirmed cases. This number does not represent the current number of COVID-19 positive persons. At this time, the FDOH is unable to determine the number of recoveries from COVID-19. Those who do recover from the virus may have additional unknown health effects. Monroe County posts this Florida Department of Health information as a courtesy to inform residents.

Please continue to come visit our beautiful Florida Keys. We are open, we are safe and we are taking the COVID virus very seriously. You can still have fun and be safe. Enjoy!!!


Gary McAdams, PA                                                                                                                          Realtor and Notary Public
Barbara Anderson Realty
Key West, Florida 

Key West Chickens, where did they come from?

Key West roosters are the most photographed inhabitants of Key West. A rooster is a male chicken and the term “rooster” originated in the United States. It could come from the fact that most chickens “roost” in trees to sleep at night.

Roosters are very territorial and will protect their hens. Key West Roosters descend from roosters bred in Cuba and the Keys for cock fighting. For many years a winning fight rooster would be a source of income and, of course, bragging rights. Cock fights are no longer legal in the United States; because of this, a lot of chickens were released and left to their own on the Island.  Today these roosters are prized for their gorgeous colored plumes and still have their fighting spirit of their ancestors.

Fiercely protection, these hens rely on their genes to guard against threats from the air such as hawk attacks, along with snake, rodent, cat, dog and other threats. Because of this, there is a waiting list for these chickens.

At one point, the rooster population grew so big that back in 2004 Key West hired a chicken catcher to reduce the population. The work of the catcher was very controversial so when the contractor quit the post was discontinued. The contractor didn’t even last a year.

Today the Key West Wildlife Center has a community trapping program.  Residents can trap nuisance chickens and bring them to the center. The chickens are fed and cared for very well.  The Wildlife Center will relocated the chickens to farms in central and northern Florida for their eggs and pest control (since they love to eat bugs). In 2011, there were 1,500 chickens relocated.

The Key West Wildlife Center relocates the chickens to, among other places, an organic orange orchard in Lake Worth to provide pesticide free bug control. Some are also sent to a large from animal rescue ranch near Lake Okeechobee and an eight acre ranch in Fort Meyers.

The Center is mainly funded through donations but they do receive some funding directly from the City of Key West.

Overall, the Key West roosters are what make Key West unique and wonderful.  They are all over the city and you can’t miss hearing them all hours of the day…. and night.

Key West is going through a heated debate as to if it will become illegal to feed the wild roaming chickens. We have a local woman known as the "Chicken Lady" who rides around town on a bicycle with a cart of food she scatters all over the areas where the chickens frequent. You're sure to see many roosters when you visit Key West. They are beautiful


Gary McAdams, PA                                                                                                                          Realtor and Notary Public
Barbara Anderson Realty
Key West, Florida 

Refinancing? Mortgage Rates at an all time low

If you have been thinking of refinancing Now is a great time. If you haven't been thinking about it but have a mortgage on your house now is a good tie to consider it. Mortgages are about as low as they've ever been. I have been suggesting people refinance and look at at 15 year mortgage as opposed to a 30 year. With the lower interest rates the payments could be about the same but a lot more will go towards your principal balance saving a lot of money and paying your house off faster.

Today’s mortgage refinance rates took a sharp dive since yesterday. Average rates for 15-year loans fell to 1.875%, a new 107-day low, while 30-year refinance rates reverted back to the lows recorded in early January. If you’re considering refinancing an existing home, check out what refinance rates look like:

30-year fixed-rate refinance: 2.625%, Down from 2.750%, -0.125

20-year fixed-rate refinance: 2.625%, Unchanging

15-year fixed-rate refinance: 1.875%, Down from 2.125%, -0.250

Rates last updated on January 22, 2021.

Let's look at an example. A sale price of $800,000 is pretty normal in Key West. A standard 80/20 mortgage will give you a loan of $640,000. At a 4% interest rate, which was always considered pretty low, your payments would be $3,055/month for principal and interest. At the current rate of your payment would be $2,451/month which is $604 less per month or $217,440 over a 30 year mortgage period. Pretty good incentive to refinance isn't it? What could you do with an extra $640/month? Add pool? Update your kitchen? Buy a new car? Another great option is keep your payments the same and apply that $640 towards your principal and pay the house off much sooner saving even more money.


Gary McAdams, PA                                                                                                                            Realtor and Notary Public
Barbara Anderson Realty
Key West, Florida 

Explore the Florida Keys off the beaten path

So you have a car and you want to get away from the tourist parts of Key West for a day. Well here are some things to do just a short drive away and not "Tourist Traps". Don't leave Key West only knowing Smathers Beach and Duval Street. Explore a little and have fun.

Check out Geiger Key Marina & Tiki Bar. Drive us US1 N and turn right at the Circle K on Big Coppitt Key onto Boca Chica Road. Drive for about 1.5 miles and turn left onto Geiger Rd. You can hang out o the restaurant and tiki bar and get some great food with a nice view. And when the Navy pilots are doing drills there is no better viewing area than here! Saturday nights isa always Steak night in the BBQ pit and Sundays is always BBQ chicken and ribs night. YUMMY! If you want to work off some of that food you can rent a kayak or paddleboard right there at the marina. There are some great cuts in the mangroves to explore.

Check out the Jumping Bridge on Lower Sugarloaf Key. Drive up US1 N and turn right at the blinking light at MM17 onto Sugarloaf Blvd. (Sugarloaf Shores). Follow the road until it takes a sharp right. To your left you will see a yellow barrier. Park and walk through the yellow fence barrier to the bridge. The water is about 15 – 20 feet deep. The current rips through under the bridge so fast that by the time you come back up from under water you're about 20 feet away from where you went in. Don't worry about getting carried away by the current though. The entire canal is only about 15 feet wide and at any given time there are about 25 Navy and Coast Guard guys there who are willing to help you in. You will also probably find a bunch of locals already there jumping in and having a blast!

Also at the blinking light at MM 17 is the Sugarloaf Lodge. The lodge and its tiki bar overlook the Great White Heron refuge and the backcountry. The restaurant offers pizza, subs and tacos, and the tiki’s Sugarloaf Punch is a hit with locals and visitors needing a refreshing cocktail. What’s in the punch? Rum, lots and lots of rum, so make sure you bring a designated driver if road tripping and wanting to taste what the punch is all about! Some of the best local Keys musicians are playing at the Sugarloaf tiki bar. No need to fight the Key West crowds when the music is better, the crowds are less and the beer is cheaper right here in Sugarloaf.

Have lunch or dinner at Boondock’s on Ramrod Key. Take US1 N to MM 27.5. Boondock’s will be on your left. They have a great tiki bar, yummy food, an art gallery and gift shop, and a miniature golf course that the kids will really love! And if you have a dog with you, Boondock’s is pet friendly; they even have a pet menu! Bacon anyone?? Boondocks is a little pricey for what you get but it is a chance to have good food, a lot of fun, hear local music on Ramrod Key and the onlu mini golf course in all the Florida Keys.

Visit the Blue Hole on Big Pine Key. Drive up US1 N to Big Pine Key, around MM 30. At the stop light make a left onto Key Deer Blvd. The Blue Hole will be on your left. Part of the National Key Deer Refuge, thisCheck out Geiger Key Marina & Tiki Bar. Drive us US1 N and turn right at the Circle K on Big Coppitt Key onto Boca Chica Road. Drive for about 1.5 miles and turn left onto Geiger Rd. You can hang out o the restaurant and tiki bar and get some great food with a nice view. And when the Navy pilots are doing drills there is no better viewing area than here! Saturday nights isa always Steak night in the BBQ pit and Sundays is always BBQ chicken and ribs night. YUMMY!

After visiting the Blue Hole, try and find the No Name Pub on No Name Key, connected to Big Pine Key by a small bridge. The Pub has, in my opinion, become a tourist trap but since it is about as much off the beaten path as you can get I felt the need to mention it. They have good pizza and other food. I won’t tell you any more than that on how to find it since finding it is the most fun part of this adventure. Once you find it, make sure to buy a t-shirt so that everyone knows you found this hidden gem. Many years ago the Pub was the best of the best of the locals hang outs but all good things must come to an end. One thing I do have to give them is the pizza is still amazing but be prepared to pay steak and lobster prices for pizza. 

When I first moved to the Keys some of my best days were just getting in the car and going on what I called my "Ride to nowhere". I would just drive until I saw a street that looked interesting and turn down it. A lot of times I found myself turning around at a dead end but I also found some fun hidden places. There is so much more to the Florida Keys than you'll be told about by the Chamber of Commerce. Ask a local or just drive yourself around and get lost. You just might see a house for sale calling your name. When that happens call and we can take a look inside.


Gary McAdams, PA 

Realtor and Notary Public
Barbara Anderson Realty
Key West, Florida 

Long before Key West was a tourist town filled with bars, bikinis and restaurants it was a fisherman's paradise. Fishing in Key West has been a big thrill throughout history with a wide variety of boats, styles and species of fish desired.

Key West and the Florida Keys: to the sportsman, just the mere mention conjures up images of yesteryear's Hemingway battling giant Blue Marlin. Or, today's angler may envision competing with behemoth Tarpon as they explode from the water in giant leaps. There is nothing quite as fascinating as fighting and landing a 100 plus pound Tarpon. Ask any knowledgeable fisherman for his "short list" of world-class fishing destinations, and Key West will be at the top of that list, and for good reason.

No other location on the planet offers as many options for sport fishing. From the blue waters offshore to the natural reef and abundant shipwrecks in the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, hundreds of species roam. Whether you choose Key West deep sea fishing experienced from a fighting chair aboard a large salon boat with heavy action gear, or Key West light tackle offshore fishing from state-of-the-art center console vessels, Marlin, Sailfish, Dolphin, Tuna, Kingfish, Wahoo and others become your deep water adversaries.

At the opposite end of the angler's spectrum are our shallows, which span limitless remote and distant fishing grounds. In Key West flats fishing, stealth replaces brute force and meager inches of water separate angler from trophy. The fabled Key West "flats" are home to the "Grey Ghost" Bonefish and elusive Permit. This is a liquid world with no sides - only shadows, slants and angles.

Adjacent to the flats is our awe-inspiring backcountry. When speaking of "Back Country" one may be referring to a form of light tackle fishing or a location in which to fish near Key West. With miles upon miles of remote, calm, protected waters at our door step, the angler can explore a vast environment without footprints. Key West backcountry fishing offers a view of nature at its finest. Witness the abundant marine life, sea birds and flora & fauna, which leave an undeniable mark on the soul.

Mangrove island shorelines invite the Redfish and Snook, while the bays host Sea Trout, Pompano and Jacks. The deeper natural channels, which meander throughout the backcountry, provide solace for the Tarpon, Cobia, Snapper and Grouper while Barracuda and Sharks patrol the shallows where the intensity of life is palatable. Whether you are an adventurer, naturalist or sportsman, an introduction to the Key West backcountry and its fishing will remain with you for a lifetime.

No matter what your fishing preference is you can do it in Key West. Variety is the spice of life and we have a huge variety of fishing. Buy a house in the Florida Keys from me and you can cook your catch right on your dock.


Christ of the Abyss, John Pennekamp Reef, Key Largo

Just about anyone who has ever dove or snorkeled the reef off of John Pennekamp State Park in Key Largo has seen the statue of Jesus Christ but very few people know the history of the statue or how it ended up at the reef in Key Largo.

On August 25, 1965, a   nine-foot-tall bronze statue of Christ was lowered into 25 feet of water off the coast of Key Largo Florida. Known as the Christ of the Abyss, this submerged statue in John Pennekamp State Park was actually the third of its kind cast from the original Italian mold.

The original 
Cristo ll degli Abissior, Christ of the Abyss, was lowered into the Mediterranean Sea on August 22, 1954, just off San Fruttuoso on the Italian Riviera. The bronze statue was the work of Guido Galletti, inspired by a concept by Italian diver Duilio Marcante. It was to represent Christ in the new world below the waves, a memorial for all those who had lost their lives at sea and a monument to those who continued to dive beneath it.

Seven years later, a second bronze sculpture was cast from the same mold. Like the original, it was submerged, this time off the coast of St. George’s, Grenada, in the southeastern Caribbean Sea. It was placed on October 22, 1961, a gift from Italy in recognition of the Italian crew saved from the sinking of the M.V. Bianca C, a passenger ship that had sunk off St. George’s earlier that year.

A third incarnation, again cast from the original mold, was submerged on August 25, 1965. This time the underwater location was near Dry Rocks in the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Key Largo (which, incidentally, was the first underwater park in the United States). The statue was donated to The Underwater Society of America by the Italian dive equipment manufacturer Egidio Cressi.

The John Pennekamp Park was chosen as the statue’s final resting place after plenty of debate. It arrived in 1965, but had to wait until a huge concrete base was first constructed. Eventually, on August 25, the larger-than-life bronze statue was lowered to the base, the whole ensemble standing in 25 feet of water. It soon became one of the most famous underwater attractions in Key Largo, and naturally attracted plenty of divers.

The top of the statue sits at around 8 to 10 feet below the surface, making it visible to snorkelers. But SCUBA divers get the best views (and the best selfies) of Florida’s Christ of the Abyss, diving down alongside the statue as it stands, arms aloft, among the coral reefs, an occasional barracuda or ray drifting past.

If you get a chance to dive or snorkel the Pennekamp Reef off of Key Large remember this story when you see the statue. Many people leave wondering why in the world there is a statue of Jesus Chrits under water in Key Largo. Now you know.


Gary McAdams, PA 

Realtor and Notary Public
Barbara Anderson Realty
Key West, Florida 

Key West, a tourist town with a lot of history

Literally millions of people come to Key West every year to vacation but they leave knowing where to find the best music, coldest beet, best key lime pie, cheapest snorkel trip but knowing very little about how the island became such a great little tourist town. The tourists flock to Duval Street while the locals
avoid it whenever possible. Well, at least I do. Here are some facts and information about Key West that you won't hear from your hotel concierge.  

With its unique location 150 miles south of mainland Florida and at the end of the Florida Keys, Key West has a fascinating history that dates back to the Age of Exploration. Old Town is the most historical part of the island and it’s also where most of the island’s attractions are found today.

Bone Island is Discovered
Ponce de Leon first discovered Key West in 1521 during his expedition to Florida in search of the Fountain of Youth. He named the island Cayo Hueso, which means Bone Island in Spanish, for the bleached limestone rock formation of the island. It was only later that it became known as “Key West,” which sounded like Cayo Hueso to the English-speaking settlers that later appropriated the Spanish territory.

Key West Becomes Part of the United States
The Florida Keys and Key West officially become part of the United States on March 5, 1822 after Lt. Commander Mathew C. Perry sailed the schooner Shark to the island and planted the US flag in the ground. Old Town’s main thoroughfare, Duval Street, was named after Florida’s first territorial governor, William Pope Duval, who held office from 1822-1834. Three notable leaders, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson, appointed him.

Popular Industries
Thanks to the shallow reefs just offshore Old Town and the expansive territory of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico, industries like wrecking, salvaging, salt manufacturing and turtling made Key West the richest city in the United States per capita during the mid-1800s. In 1847, the Key West Lighthouse was built on Whitehead Street to mark the island’s shoreline. Today, you can still scale to the top for a bird’s-eye-view of the island and visit the lighthouse keeper’s quarters.

Civil War & Cuba’s Ten Years War
Leading up to the Civil War from 1845-1866, Fort Zachary Taylor was constructed as a Naval fort at the southern edge of Old Town Key West. While the State of Florida joined the Confederacy, Key West remained a Union territory because of the island’s strong Naval presence.

Key West’s link to Cuba was also established during this time as Cuban refugees of the Ten Years War took shelter in Old Town Key West. A number of historic Cuban-owned businesses and landmarks exist today, including Kino Sandals and the San Carlos Institute on Duval Street. Pepe’s, the island’s oldest restaurant was opened in 1909 and today is a great spot for a hearty breakfast or grouper sandwich at lunchtime on the shady patio.

Industrial Revolution & Tourism in Key West
With peace restored to the Union, the Industrial Revolution took hold of Key West, starting with Henry Flagler’s Overseas Railway in 1912 connecting Key West to mainland Florida on 128 miles of track. In addition, Pan American Airlines was later founded in Old Town Key West in 1926 providing air service to Havana.

With the island easier to access than ever before, it opened up many outlets for tourism. Notable writers, musicians and dignitaries were also attracted to Old Town Key West. In 1928, Ernest Hemingway and his second wife Pauline first visited. They spent most of the 1930s in a home on Whitehead Street that you can still visit today. Playwright Tennessee Williams became a regular visitor starting in 1941 and is where he wrote the first draft of A Streetcar Named Desire. He also spent his mornings swimming in the ocean at the end of Duval Street. President Harry S. Truman began making regular visits to Old Town Key West in 1946 during his presidency, eventually transforming the Naval station’s command headquarters into an official Little White House. Today, the Truman Little White House is a museum and event space.

Jimmy Buffett, Fantasy Fest & the Conch Republic
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Key West came into its own as an offbeat destination for dreamers who wanted to live by their own rules. Jimmy Buffett arrived in 1971 and the island has been associated with his famous song Margaritaville ever since. Today, visitors can dine at his eponymous restaurant on Duval Street. In 1979, Key West experienced its first Fantasy Fest. The 10-day bacchanal at the end of October is now a legendary annual tradition.

In 1982, when United States Border Patrol officials put up roadblocks at the entrance to the Overseas Highway in an attempt to deter drug smuggling, it resulted in major traffic congestion into the island. The City of Key West responded by briefly declaring its independence from the United States and calling itself the Conch Republic for the first time. This nickname has stuck and Conch Republic Independence celebrations are still held every April. A couple of years later in 1984, Key West’s cruise ship port opened in Mallory Square, allowing another point of entry for tourism to the island.

Treasure hunter Mel Fisher dredged up a piece of Key West’s history from the bottom of the ocean floor in 1985 when he discovered the 1622 wreck of the Spanish galleon Atocha. From “pieces of eight” gold coins to Fisher’s exciting life, you can learn all about his discoveries today at the Mel Fisher Museum.

A Tour Through History
Key West is a thriving island city with a strong connection between history and culture. This is apparent in the Victorian and Colonial architecture of conch cottages and mansions preserved throughout Old Town, as well as many long-standing, locally-owned restaurants, bars and businesses. You can visit the Custom House Museum to view fascinating primary documents and artwork depicting Key West through the ages or go for a spin on the Conch Train to see it all unfold before your eyes.

Hopefully you'll come to Key West and have a great time on Duval Street, see out famous sunsets, eat some great local seafood, experience the nightlife, snorkel our reef, learn some of the island's history and most importantly, HAVE FUN!! You just might catch what we call "Keys Disease" and decide to stay. In that case call me to help you buy a house.


Gary McAdams, PA 

Realtor and Notary Public
Barbara Anderson Realty
Key West, Florida 

Key West and Lower Florida Keys Real Estate Market Activity, 07/14/2024

Sunday may be a day of rest for a lot of the world but not the Florida Keys. We are in the market of improving people's quality of life ...