25 Facts About Key West

1. Key West is often referred to as the Conch Republic.

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2. Key West is famous for its sunset and there's no place like Mallory Square to celebrate every night amongst street performers, musicians and food stands.

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3. Key West has a healthy population of chickens that roam free on the island.

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4. Many of the residents of Key West were immigrants from the Bahamas, known as Conchs, who arrived in increasing numbers after 1830.

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5. Key West used Depression-era Key West as one of the locations in To Have and Have Not—his only novel with scenes that occur in the United States.

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6. The city of Key West erected the current monument in 1983.

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7. Key West preserved copies of his newspaper as well as copies from the "Key West Gazette", its predecessor.

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8. Key West bought the island because a friend, John Whitehead, had drawn his attention to the opportunities presented by the island's strategic location.

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9. The last Native American residents of Key West were Calusa refugees who were taken to Cuba when Florida was transfered from Spain to Great Britain in 1763.

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10. Kim Kardashian Key West makes low-key visit to notorious San Quentin prison.

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11. Key West is part of the Miami-Fort Lauderdale television market.

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12. Key West was always an important military post, since it sits at the northern edge of the deepwater channel connecting the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico via the Florida Straits.

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13. Key West has had a military presence since 1823, shortly after its purchase by Simonton in 1822.

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14. Key West was flooded with refugees during the Mariel Boatlift.

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15. In 1890, Key West had a population of nearly 18,800 and was the biggest and richest city in Florida.

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16. The most recent hurricane to impact Key West was Hurricane Irma, which made landfall in the Keys in the morning of September 10, 2017 as a Category 4 storm.

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17. Key West is the driest city in Florida, averaging just under 40 inches of rain per year.

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18. Key West was in a down cycle when Franklin D Roosevelt visited in 1939.

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19. Key West is the usual endpoint for marathon swims from Cuba, including Diana Nyad's 2013 record-setting swim as the first completed without a shark cage or fins and Susie Maroney's 1997 swim from within a shark cage.

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20. Key West was relatively isolated until 1912, when it was connected to the Florida mainland via the Overseas Railway extension of Henry M Flagler's Florida East Coast Railway.

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21. In the 1830s Key West was the richest city per capita in the United States.

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22. Key West is a port of call for many passenger cruise ships.

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23. Key West is about 95 miles north of Cuba at their closest points.

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24. Key West is the southernmost city in the contiguous United States and the westernmost island connected by highway in the Florida Keys.

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25. Key West is an island and city in the Straits of Florida on the North American continent.

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