Located in Mallory Square this is the place to get a great taste of Key West’s rich and marvelous history with all the relevant characters. These are the men and women who carved Key West out of Rock and Sand
Sculptor James Mastin’s 36 meticulously carved bronze busts are sensational, while there is a great story behind each and every one. Mastin’s larger main sculpture “The Wreckers” embodies one of the 19th centuries most lucrative professions in Key West, where at least one ship wrecked each week along the Florida Reef and the whole town fed from it. Wrecking was the Island’s first economy and the reason for her early existence and in the 1830s Key West was the richest city per capita and the United States.
While Hemingway and Truman are here because they gave immense recognition to Key West while they lived here, the others brought a lot of Blood Sweat and Tears to the picnic.
Commodore Porter established a Navy station in Key West in 1823, after serving in the War of 1812, battling the Tripoli Pirates. With a small fleet of 16 ships known as the “Mosquito Fleet”, Porter eradicated piracy throughout the Caribbean.
John Bartlum came to Key West in 1855 as an experienced wrecker and began building Schooners of more than 100 tons.
William Curry at 16 arrived here from Green Turtle Cay in the Bahamas. Curry owned and operated a fleet of wreckers, was a major shipbuilder, whom owned piers, warehouses, ice plants, and railways. He was Florida’s first homegrown millionaire.
In the early 1900s Henry M Flagler, the railroad visionary that constructed the Florida Keys Over- Seas railroad, transported thousands of passengers between the Keys and Miami.
Norberg Thompson was born, raised and educated in Key West. The Thompson Fish Company was the largest Seafood Enterprise south of New England.
Captain Edward “Bra” Saunders, a real Conch born in Key West, was a commercial fisherman that became Hemingway’s fishing guide and was instrumental in making sport fishing a major industry on the island.
Sandy Cornish a former slave that became one of Key West richest residents.
Eduardo Gato the driving force behind the islands successful tobacco industry, whom revolutionized the Keys’ cigar business.
Find the time, you won’t regret it, you can spend 30 minutes here or hours.
David Garland FL Key West Jan 21, 2023 Back in Time History Memorials