Today in Keys History – Jan. 23, 2023

Rows of soldiers in uniform with rifles march down a street.

1896 – William Curry, Key West’s most highly esteemed citizen and businessman, died. He was born at Green Turtle Cay, Bahamas, on Sept. 11, 1821, and came to Key West at the age of 16. He entered the mercantile business in Key West and became Florida’s first millionaire. He was survived by his wife and eight children.

1898 – The U.S. Atlantic Fleet arrived off Key West for winter training. The Battleship Maine, which had been in Key West since November, got underway to join the fleet.

1912 – At 11 a.m. the parade commemorating the opening of the Overseas Railroad started from the corner of Simonton and Eaton streets.

1912 – At 7:30 p.m. a banquet honoring the opening of the railroad was held at the Marine Barracks at which Mayor J.N. Fogarty presided as toastmaster. General Robert Shaw Oliver, the personal representative of President William H. Taft, read a message from the President. Henry M. Flagler also gave a speech.

1917 – Franklin D. Roosevelt, assistant secretary of the Navy, with members of his staff paid an official visit to the Naval Station and inspected the facilities. After the inspection they left for Havana on the Destroyer MacDonald.

1933 – Juanita Alexander of Marathon was brought to Key West on the morning train after being in such pain that her screams of agony led people to think she was insane. A physician at the county jail administered treatment, and in a short time she returned to normal.

1940 – The Key West Hotel and Tourist Homes Association requested the City Council work to reduce traffic noise at night, especially the blowing of horns, as they were losing guests because of the racket. One suggestion was to add the phrase “Don’t Blow Horns” to stops signs at major intersections.

1954 – Florida’s acting Gov. Charley Johns dedicated the new swimming pool at Key Colony Beach.

1998 – The Key West City Commission approved a policy that allowed city workers to add domestic partners on the city’s health insurance plan.

Information compiled by Tom Hambright, Historian Emeritus, and Dr. Corey Malcom, Lead Historian, Monroe County Public Library, Florida Keys History Center.

Image: The First Train Parade, January 1912. Wright Langley Collection. Monroe County Public Library, Florida Keys History Center.


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