Pigeons, Planes and the Birth of Pan Am
Most people don’t know it, but Key West played a major role in the history of international air travel. In 1927, the island was the birthplace of one-time aviation giant Pan American Airlines. Actually, its aviation heritage dates back to 1920, when the pioneering Aeromarine Airways began America’s first official international airmail service.
We’re Different in the Keys
We do things differently in the Florida Keys. Maybe it’s because the island chain attracts individualists — fans of the eccentric. But whatever the reason, our activities and celebrations tend to have an offbeat twist that’s pure “Keys.” And nothing illustrates it better than the way we recently commemorated Groundhog Day and Valentine’s Day.
Key West Concert and Drone ‘Fireworks’ to Launch Florida Keys’ 200th Birthday
Celebrate the bicentennial of the subtropical Florida Keys island chain throughout 2023, starting with the “200 Years of Paradise Kick-off Concert” and dazzling drone show Saturday, March 25, in Key West. Events salute the 200th anniversary of the Florida legislature’s founding of Monroe County, which contains the entire Keys, on July 3, 1823.
Brian Vest: Steward of the Conch Republic Marine Army
Brian Vest, founder-president of the Conch Republic Marine Army, a nonprofit organization created to restore Florida Keys marine habitats, has taken more than 4,000 volunteers to the Keys backcountry. Nearly every Saturday, groups of up to 10 volunteers commit to a five-hour experience to clear debris washed up on remote, uninhabited islands.
Pucker Power to Prevail at Key West’s ‘Conch Honk’
Conch shell blowing, a time-honored tradition, is Key West’s most indigenous form of musical expression. Every March, the island’s Conch Shell Blowing Contest draws dozens of entrants who demonstrate their “pucker power” by blowing through the conch’s fluted, pink-lined shell. The 2023 contest is set for March 4 at the Oldest House Museum.
Present-Day Sites Bring Keys’ Past to Life
During the Florida Keys’ colorful two-century history, the island chain at the southern tip of Florida has been shaped by individualists, visionaries, shipwreck salvagers and environmentalists. Today visitors can explore scores of intriguing sites in the Upper and Middle Keys that recall their presence and showcase the region’s rich and vibrant heritage.
Corcoran’s Tantalizing Tales … and Tacos for Tennessee
He peddled tacos from a three-wheeled bicycle when he first moved to Key West — and Tom Corcoran never forgot the irreverent, weird, magical island he discovered from that vantage point. In his Alex Rutledge mystery series, the island is portrayed with an authenticity that leaves readers practically able to smell the shoreline seaweed.