Fun Facts about Key West: A Treasure Trove of Quirky Charm

Explore the fascinating history and quirky charm of Key West, Florida, in our exclusive article: “Fun Facts about Key West: A Treasure Trove of Quirky Charm.” Discover how Key West, once the richest city in the United States per capita, captivated the likes of Ernest Hemingway and many other renowned writers. Despite not being the Westernmost Key, Key West remains a beloved destination, forever marked by Hemingway’s presence and the vibrant blend of cultures that make this island a true gem.

Key Takeaways:

  • Key West holds the record for the highest average temperature in the United States, along with being the only city in the country that never experiences frost.

  • The founding of Key West in 1822 can be attributed to John Simonton, who received the land as a reward for his participation in the Seminole Wars.

  • Located approximately 90 miles north of Cuba and just 15 miles from Dry Tortugas National Park, Key West is the southernmost city in the United States.

  • Notable figures such as writer Ernest Hemingway, treasure hunter Mel Fisher, and baseball player Boog Powell have called Key West their home.

Fun Facts About Key West:

fun facts about Key West

  • Key West’s Surprising Temperature: Key West boasts the unique distinction of having the highest average temperature in the entire United States.

  • A Frost-Free Paradise: Imagine a place where frost is unheard of. In Key West, this dream is a reality, making it the only city in the country that never experiences frost.

  • A Land Grant with a Rich History: The founding of Key West can be traced back to 1822 when John Simonton, a veteran of the Seminole Wars, received the land as a reward for his courageous service.

  • A Southernmost Gem: Key West proudly holds the title of the southernmost city in the United States. It’s a mere 90 miles north of Cuba and just 15 miles from the wonders of Dry Tortugas National Park.

  • A Haven for Notable Figures: Throughout history, Key West has been home to an array of renowned individuals, including the literary giant Ernest Hemingway, the legendary treasure hunter Mel Fisher, and the esteemed baseball player Boog Powell.

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The Westernmost of the Keys Isn’t Key West

fun facts about Key West

Key Takeaways:

  • Key West is not the westernmost Key, that honor belongs to Dry Tortugas National Park.

  • Key West is closer to Cuba than to Miami.

  • Key West is connected to the mainland by an impressive 42 bridges.

  • Witnessing the stunning sunset is practically an event in Key West.

  • Key West enjoys tropical bliss, never experiencing freezing temperatures.

  • A disease sadly wiped out the Key Lime trees, and they’re no longer cultivated in Key West.

Dry Tortugas National Park: The true westernmost Key is home to Fort Jefferson, a massive 19th-century fortress, and stunning coral reefs. A haven for nature enthusiasts, it offers incredible snorkeling and birdwatching opportunities.

Key West Sunset Celebrations: As the sun dips below the horizon, Mallory Square transforms into a vibrant spectacle. Street performers, artists, and locals gather to bid farewell to the day with live music, food, and an infectious atmosphere.

Key West’s Unique Climate: Frost is a foreign concept to this tropical paradise. Even in the heart of winter, temperatures rarely drop below 60°F, making it an ideal destination for those seeking year-round warmth.

Key Lime Trees’ Demise: Once a staple of Key West, the beloved Key Lime trees fell victim to a devastating disease. The remaining trees are now carefully tended to preserve this culinary icon.

Multiple Bridges to Paradise: Key West is connected to the mainland by an impressive 42 bridges, spanning a total distance of over 100 miles. These bridges offer breathtaking views of the turquoise waters and lush landscapes of the Florida Keys.

Witnessing the Sunset Ritual: In Key West, sunsets are not just celestial events, they’re community affairs. As the sun prepares to bid adieu, Mallory Square comes alive with street performers, artists, and locals, all united in celebrating the beauty of nature’s nightly show.

Sources:

33 Fun Facts About Key West, Florida, That May Surprise You
33 Stunning Facts About Key West

Ernest Hemingway lived and wrote in Key West

Key Takeaways:

  • Hemingway’s Key West Home is Now a Museum: Visitors can explore the author’s former residence, now a museum, and immerse themselves in the ambiance that inspired his literary masterpieces.

  • Home to Six-Toed Cats: Hemingway was a cat enthusiast and had a pet six-toed cat named Snowball, a unique feline resident of the Key West household.

  • Gateway to Cuba: Key West’s proximity to Cuba, situated just 94 miles away, made it a convenient gateway for Hemingway’s frequent trips to the island nation.

  • Inspiration for Literary Works: The serene and vibrant atmosphere of Key West provided a conducive environment for Hemingway’s writing, resulting in the creation of several notable literary works during his time on the island.

  • Deep-Sea Fishing Haven: Hemingway’s passion for deep-sea fishing was ignited by Key West’s strategic location along the Florida coast, offering access to rich fishing grounds.

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FAQ

Q1: Why was Key West once the richest city in the United States per capita?

A1: Key West’s strategic location near Cuba made it a significant trading hub, particularly for the lucrative cigar industry. The city’s economy flourished, leading to immense wealth and prosperity for its residents.

Q2: Who were some famous writers who lived in Key West?

A2: Key West has been a haven for writers throughout history, notably Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, and Robert Frost. Hemingway, in particular, found inspiration in the island’s unique atmosphere and wrote some of his most renowned works while living there.

Q3: Is Key West actually the westernmost of the Keys?

A3: Contrary to popular belief, Key West is not the westernmost island among the Florida Keys. That distinction belongs to the remote Dry Tortugas National Park, which lies further west and is home to the historic Fort Jefferson.

Q4: What did Ernest Hemingway find so captivating about Key West?

A4: Hemingway was drawn to Key West’s vibrant culture, diverse characters, and the allure of deep-sea fishing. The island’s tranquil environment provided him with the inspiration and focus he needed to write some of his most famous works, including “The Old Man and the Sea.”

Q5: What other interesting facts can you share about Key West?

A5: Key West is known for its vibrant sunsets, which are celebrated with nightly gatherings at Mallory Square. The island is also home to the smallest house in the US, measuring a mere 550 square feet. Additionally, Key West has a rich history of sponging, with the Key West Sponge Market serving as a reminder of this once-thriving industry.