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Key West,city (1990 pop. 24,832), seat of Monroe co., S Fla., on an island at the southwestern extremity of the Florida KeysFlorida Keys,
chain of coral and limestone islands and reefs, c.150 mi (240 km) long, extending from Virginia Key, S of Miami Beach, to Key West, and forming the southern extremity of Florida.
..... Click the link for more information. ; inc. 1828. About 150 mi (240 km) from Miami (but only 90 mi/145 km from Cuba), it is the southernmost city of the continental United States. It is a port of entry and a cruise-ship stop, a popular resort with a tropical climate, a shrimping and fishing center, and an artists' colony. Tropical fruits are harvested, but tourism is central to the economy.
Early Spanish sailors called the site Cayo Hueso (Bone Island), because of the human bones they found there. A railroad (completed 1912) linked the Keys with the mainland. It was abandoned after being damaged by a hurricane in 1935 and was replaced by the 123-mi (198-km) Overseas Highway (completed in 1938). After a severe economic decline, the federal government took over (1934) the bankrupt city.
Places of interest include a sponge pier, an aquarium, a lighthouse (1846; replacing one built in 1825), Mallory Square (a daily sunset-viewing point), and two Civil War forts. John James AudubonAudubon, John James
, 1785–1851, American ornithologist, b. Les Cayes, Santo Domingo (now Haiti). The illegitimate son of a French sea captain and plantation owner and a Creole chambermaid who died months after his birth, he was educated in France and in 1803 came to live
..... Click the link for more information. and Winslow HomerHomer, Winslow,
1836–1910, American landscape, marine, and genre painter. Homer was born in Boston, where he later worked as a lithographer and illustrator. In 1861 he was sent to the Civil War battlefront as correspondent for Harper's Weekly,
..... Click the link for more information. painted in Key West, and the city was used as a setting in the works of Ernest HemingwayHemingway, Ernest,
1899–1961, American novelist and short-story writer, b. Oak Park, Ill. one of the great American writers of the 20th cent. Life
The son of a country doctor, Hemingway worked as a reporter for the Kansas City Star
..... Click the link for more information. , who once lived there. His home (built 1851) was made a museum, as was the Little White House, President Harry S. TrumanTruman, Harry S.,
1884–1972, 33d President of the United States, b. Lamar, Mo. Early Life and Political Career
He grew up on a farm near Independence, Mo., worked at various jobs, and tended the family farm.
..... Click the link for more information. 's personal retreat.
See C. Cox, A Key West Companion (1983).
a city in the southeastern United States, in the state of Florida, on the island of Key West. It is connected by highway (extending through the chain of coral islands on bridges and dikes) with the peninsula of Florida. Population, 27,600 (1970). The city is a winter sea resort. There is fishing.