Today in Keys History – Jan. 25, 2023
1898 – The Battleship Maine arrived at Havana, Cuba at 11 a.m.
1908 – Rumors were spreading that further construction of the Overseas Railroad would halt and that the recently reached Knight’s Key would become the southern terminus, instead of the originally envisioned Key West.
1920 – Key West police were unable to find clues as to the identity of the perpetrators of an extensive rash of burglaries. For each of the past few nights, eight to 10 homes had been broken into.
1920 – The Key West City Council increased the salary for the chief of police from $120 to $150 per month.
1928 – The first Overseas Highway from Key West to Miami via Card Sound, and with a ferry from No Name Key to Lower Matecumbe, was opened.
1940 – Harold Peters, Atlantic flyway biologist for the U.S. Biological Survey, was headed to Cape Sable on mainland Monroe County to investigate sightings of a massive gathering of ducks there, reported to be 750,000 in number.
1945 – Three Navy fliers crashed their aircraft into the water near Conch Key. The driver of the Key West-to-Miami bus witnessed the accident and stopped his vehicle. The airmen escaped the downed plane, got into a rubber life raft, paddled to shore, got on the bus, and rode it to Miami.
1946 – The submarine tender USS Howard W. Gilmore arrived in Key West. The big tender was the flagship for the submarine squadron assigned to Key West.
1976 – A father and son reported an UFO over Key West.
1988 – Jimmy Buffett, local resident and nationally known singer, presented Mayor Richard Heyman with a check for $15,000 toward the purchase of the Salt Ponds and a check of $2,700 for use of Wickers Field where the Salt Ponds benefit concert was held.
1998 – The World Wildlife Fund backed a plan to put a toll on US 1. The last push for a toll road in 1995 ended when the Department of Transportation said that tolls could only be used for road improvements.
2003 – Key West recorded a low temperature of 45 degrees, which was a record for January 25.
Information compiled by Tom Hambright, Historian Emeritus, and Dr. Corey Malcom, Lead Historian, Monroe County Public Library, Florida Keys History Center.
Image: The USS Gilmore AS 16 at the pier at Key West Naval Station Key West with the Conch Train on the pier circa 1970. From the Ida Woodward Barron Collection. Monroe County Public Library, Florida Keys History Center.