For history buffs or anyone seeking insight into the classic architecture of Key West, Key West Art & Historical Society will host a series of educational and entertaining walking tours led by local artist and historian Sharon Wells on select Saturdays from January through March. The first is to take place on Saturday, January 13 from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm, with a focus on Truman Annex and Historic Whitehead Street.
This tour will begin at The Custom House Museum on Front Street, the site of court adjudications for Wreckers’ salvage claims and the 1898 Battleship Maine Court of Inquiry. Tour-goers will walk approximately a mile, heading up Whitehead Street to Truman Annex, and finish on Green Street at the Porter family properties dating from 1840. Highlights will include the 19th Century naval structures, including the Machine Shop, Marine Hospital and Surgeon’s Quarters, President Eisenhower’s WWII Headquarters, and the historic properties of Banyan Resorts.
Wells will reveal the evolution of the waterfront and examine the impact of World War II, the auction and privatization of the Naval Base in 1986, and rehabilitation of buildings as residential/commercial properties. Participants can also anticipate Wells’ narratives on Key West’s early settlement as they peruse the spectacular Classic Revival architectural homes and noteworthy landscape along Whitehead Street.
Originally landing in Key West in 1976 to help document the buildings for National Register of Historic Places expansion, Wells combined her many talents of writing, photography, painting and history to open her own gallery (Key West Light Gallery) and founded the now out-of-print Key West Walking & Biking Guide in 1984, upon which The Society tour offerings are based. Today she turns her efforts to House History research and documentation for historic homeowners, her own art projects, and these tour offerings for Key West Art & Historical Society, of which she has long been a board member.
The tour series is presented by The Society as part of their commitment to providing activities and programs that highlight the abundant history and cultural assets of Key West and the Florida Keys. Tickets are $25 for members, $35 for non members. Register now as space is limited. For more information, visit KWAHS.ORG/EDUCATION or call Adele Williams, Director of Education at 305.295.6616 extension 115. Your museums. Your community. It takes an island.