Today in Keys History – Jan. 24, 2023

A three-story building with dark shutters.

1863 – Official news of the Emancipation Proclamation reached Key West. The Black community celebrated with a parade and party.

1898 – The Battleship Maine, anchored off the Tortugas, was ordered to sail to Havana.

1912 – Henry Flagler left on his special train at 6:22 a.m., ending his visit for the opening of the Overseas Railroad and his last visit to Key West.

1912 – A fireworks display and band concert was held at Gato Baseball grounds at the foot of Duval Street. The Cuban National band provided the music and the fireworks were by the International Fire Works Company.

1920 – Two Key West men, Willie Demerrit and James Sieford, were sentenced to the state penitentiary for eight and six years, respectively, for stealing four chickens.

1947 – Key West Mayor W.W. Demerrit recommended to the Federal Works Agency that the idle Marine Hospital be returned to the U.S. Public Health Service and function again as a hospital. Local Navy officials were not pleased, as they intended to use the building for apartments.  

1948 – Sally Rand, internationally known fan dancer, appeared at the dance and casino sponsored by the Arthur Sawyer Post, American Legion, for benefit of the March of Dimes. Miss Rand was a part-time resident of Key West.

1953 -The cornerstone for the Key West Yacht Club was laid by Charles S. Taylor, commodore of the club.

1973 – Burl Ives was in Key West filming a TV documentary on playwright Tennessee Williams.

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

Image: The U.S. Marine Hospital Key West. Monroe County Public Library, Florida Keys History Center.


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