East Side/West Side – Ride the Conch Train ‘round Old Town
Between the Gilded Age and the Roaring Twenties, industrious Key Westers filled the Old Town borders with cottages and bungalows. View their homes – improved for modern comforts – through late afternoon shadows, soft winter dusk, or after dark. Tour at your own pace over two dates, or ride the Conch Train and see them in one evening.
322 Southard Street – 166 cigar factories were the engine of Key West economy when this “cigar roller” cottage was built in the 1880’s. Its current owners have doubled the floor space, but kept whimsical wall murals painted by a late 20th C. owner.
907 Elizabeth Street – near “Division Street” (now Truman Ave.), a more commodious style of “Conch Cottage” reflected general prosperity c. 1905. Ninety years later, a modernization spruced up this old home without losing the patina of age.
1022 Catherine Street – cigars were still in demand and the railroad was on its way when this home was erected in the burgeoning south side of town c. 1910. A hint of late-Victorian style has been enhanced by the current owner’s antiques.
913 Georgia Street – “bungalows” were the modern home style of choice for many following WWI. Under the deep eaves of this well-revived beauty, you may find an artist at work in her “garret” studio.
1217 Petronia Street – one of those cigar factories burned down in 1923, taking a few surrounding blocks of homes with it. This cheery vernacular bungalow built after the smoke cleared has a totally new interior, but one that knows its history.
The tour is scheduled for Friday & Saturday, January 16 & 17, from 4pm to 8pm. Tickets are $30 and are available in advance. For credit card purchase, buy tickets online at www.oirf.org or call 305-294-9501. Tickets are also available for purchase by check or cash at: Capital Bank, (Old Town & North Roosevelt Branches in Key West; MM30.4, Big Pine; 2348 Overseas Highway, Marathon); Royal Furniture (3326 N. Roosevelt Blvd.), and the Oldest House (322 Duval Street). During tour hours, tickets will be sold at the featured houses – cash or check, please.
A limited number of advanced tickets include touring via Conch Train at no extra charge. Each Train group will be lead by a special guide. Please reserve a train seat online or by calling 305-294-9501. Choose a starting time of 3:45, 4:15, 4:45, 5:15 or 5:45pm and plan on arriving at the Oldest House 20 minutes before departure time.