Tuesday, May 17, 2011

When You Talk History in Key West, The Cemetary is always comes to Mind

     This unusual cemetery sits in the center of Old Town Key West, and is a colorful and quirky as the rest of Key West.     You will find above ground burials, and very unusual headstones as well as burial site of two dozen sailors from the USS Maine blown up in Havana Harbor in 1898.      The main entrance is at the corner of Margret and Angela streets and the rest of the cemetery is bordered by Passover Lane, Frances and Olivia Streets.     

     The reason for the above ground burials has nothing to do with the low elevation of the island, but rather the coral that has formed the island.     Digging through coral is about like digging through concrete thus the tombs laid on the surface like New Orleans, but for a different reason.      The stacked tombs and the unusual decorations that surround the tombs make this one of the more unique cemeteries anywhere.      

     This is not the original site of the Key West Cemetery however, it was originally located near the southernmost point where the light house was also located before the 1846 Hurricane.     Not only did the lighthouse and the lighthouse keepers quarters get blown away, but the cemetery as well.     There were dead scattered all through the forest and some even lodged in trees according to attorney and port inspector Stephen Mallory.  

     You will find the grave sites of many of Key Wests most interesting people  like, Duncan Cameron, Captain Francis Watlington,The Porter Clan, Thomas Romer, Sloppy Joe Russell and many many more.     I think the most talked about headstone is the one belonging to  Pearl Roberts where she really got her last words in with the epitaph " I TOLD YOU I WAS SICK".     This colorful town has  the most fitting and colorful historic cemetery and worth the time to stroll through and see the history and honor the colorful people that made Key West what it is today.     ;o)