Key West’s LEAST SEEN Sculpture!

How do I know that it’s Key West’s LEAST SEEN sculpture! Easy,¬†I can’t see it myself! ūüôā Take a look at the photo below taken from approximately¬†3 feet away… it’s virtually invisible. Now look at the close up featured to the left…¬†the artist’s wire bird sculpture is¬†only 1 foot away and still virtually invisible!

In fact, I ONLY noticed the sculpture atop the pier post when enlarging the photo for a previous blog. Then and only then did I see it! If I can’t see it standing within 3 feet of it then you can see it standing 40 feet away from the outside of the bird sanctuary from where it sits. Sculpture or artwork, whatever you want to call it doesn’t matter because you can see it anyways! ūüôā

You can find Key West’s LEAST SEEN sculpture¬†in the center of¬†Monroe County’s SMALLEST Bird Sanctuary which is located within a¬†park across from both the majestic White Street Pier and¬†Key West Wildlife Center. It sits¬†on the corner of White Street & Casa Marina Court here on Key West‚Äôs less traveled southeastern portion of the island.

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Let’s Go Sponging!

Key West has a long history of sponge diving… ok, stop here, it’s actually called ‘sponge fishing’. The history of our nations sponge industry began in the early 19th century here in the small settlement of Key West.

The sponges were first found on beach shores after storms and used for domestic purposes only long before the¬†selling & warehousing of this sea-soft absorbent wonder.¬†In 1849 a small shipment of sponges were shipped to New York where they quickly sold out and the business exploded thereon for decades to come. At one time nearly 100% of sponges in the USA came from Key West and¬†its 350 ship fleet & 1,400 local workers. Though the industry¬†faded into history along with turtle harvesting, with the help of the Civil Works Administration sponging resurfaced during the depression era (1930’s) but never regained¬†prominence as a principle industry. Here at the Old Sponge Warehouse¬†is where the sea harvest was stored during the industries short-lived revival.

The can’t miss aqua 2-story building now stands¬†among¬†newer homes on either side of it but can be distinguished¬†by its own sign as seen in the photo to the left. Key West’s Old Sponge Warehouse can be found¬†near the corners of¬†¬†James Street & Margaret Street just 2 blocks east of Harbor Walk.

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A Round Tree Branch… Freak OF Nature?

Is this oddity a freak of nature, genetic hybrid or the beginnings of a Disney World topiary characters sculpted from a bush? Have you ever in your life seen a ROUND tree branch?

This small tree sits nearly alone only feet away from a pond and is impossible to miss. Upon seeing this from a distance I was nothing less than astounded as I hurried toward my prized photo. Being inside a Botanical Garden I already expected the unexpected but never this!

As I got closer I could see that the branch was almost perfectly round wondering how could that be? Standing only feet away you could finally tell that something wasn’t right about this lone growing tree. I couldn’t resist in touching the tree¬†to find out¬†what it was either petrified or bronze… my little brain said bronze. It was in fact a man-made sculpture without a sign. ūüė¶ I was actually hoping that it was in some way real. Oh well, either way, it’s TOO cool!

You can find this artists rendition of nature gone awry at the Key West Botanical Garden on College Road by turning off of US-1 at Mile Marker 4.3 just before crossing the bridge onto the main island of Key West.

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The Movie ‘Key Largo’ Was Filmed Here!

If you’re a Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall or Edward G. Robinson fan then this is your blog. It’s here on this EXACT site “The Caribbean Club” that the 1948 Hollywood film classic “Key Largo” was filmed starring the three fore-mentioned movie stars. Directed by legendary director John Houston, this¬†is the fourth and FINAL pairing of the real-life married couple of Bogart & Bacall.

Allow yourself enough time to park the car and walk inside where the walls are filled with memorabilia from this¬†classic film. After photographing the main sign in front of the building, walk to the front door and look to the right seeing a wooden statue of Bogart himself that EXACTLY replicates the nearly life-size pin-up near the fireplace inside. I’ve included some photos of my time walking around and inside the building that you can see below. Not only was “Key Largo” filmed here but also the Jack Nicholson film “Blood & Wine”… hmmmm, guess I must have missed that one! ūüôā

The Caribbean Club is in Key Largo at Mile Marker 104.2 bayside. This is WELL WORTH a stop on your trip, just the scenery around it is worth it my friends! Put this on your LIST!

         

         

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Police Badge Found By Fountain

IMG_1564Finding¬†neat, exciting and different oddities by accident is a very rewarding part of my job. Many times I’ll see a sign, marker, statue or plaque (as in this one), take a photo without ever reading it till getting home knowing that if it’s not blog-worthy material¬†it can simply be deleted. This on the other hand surprised me upon enlarging the commemorative plaque.

I found a Key West¬†Police Officer’s badge none like any other I’d run across mounted above a plaque in front of a fountain. This stand-alone badge made me take note, think and contemplate its message. I’ll let you do the same. Here’s what’s inscribed:

Behind this badge you will meet strength and truth.

Behind this badge you will meet honor and compassion.

Behind this badge you will meet mothers, fathers, sisters, and sons.

Behind this badge you will meet the men and women of the Key West Police Department.

You too can find this Key West Police Officer’s badge and plaque in front of the main entrance to the Key West Police Department at 1600 North Roosevelt Boulevard.

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Robert The Doll

Robert The Doll

Here’s a famous local Ghost Tale for you! Robert the Doll was once owned by Key West painter¬†Robert Eugene Otto. The doll allegedly cursed has become a fixture of local ghost tours and¬†featured on TV’s Travel Channel for America’s Most Haunted.

Eugene was given the doll in 1904 by a servant who was skilled in black magic & voodoo. Soon afterwards it became clear that there was something eerie about the doll. Eugene’s parents often heard him talking to the doll and the doll appeared to be talking back. Although at first they assumed that Eugene was simply answering himself in a changed voice, they later believed that the doll was actually speaking. Neighbors claimed to see the doll moving from window to window when the family was out. The Otto family swore that sometimes the doll would emit a terrifying giggle and that they caught glimpses of it running from room to room. In the night Eugene would scream, and when his parents ran to the room they would find furniture knocked over and Eugene in bed, looking incredibly scared, telling them that “Robert did it!”.When Eugene died in 1972, the doll was left in the attic until the house was bought again. The new family’s ten-year old girl became Robert’s new owner. It was not long before the girl began screaming out in the night, claiming that Robert moved about the room and even¬†attack her.

The doll made an appearance at¬†a paranormal convention¬†in Clearwater, Florida in¬†2008 making¬†it the first time ever leaving¬†Key West in¬†105 years. Be aware and heed this warning:¬†If you¬†wish to take a picture of him, you must ask¬†Robert politely or¬†the doll will curse you and¬†your family. Along with the doll, you will find letters written to him including one from former President George Bush. The 1988 American slasher movie Child’s Play, was inspired by Robert the Doll. (True, look it up!)

You can find Robert The Doll at the East Martello Tower Museum in Key West on the southeast portion of town for a $6 fee.

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Oops, Forgot Wife!

Got wife? If so, you better make sure she’s with you in the family camper or car¬†before leaving a fun-filled weekend of camping! ūüôā Look closely at the yellow ‘Check List’ sign: Antenna Down, Steps Up, Sewer Cap On, Wife In Car!

I love humorous signs and this one falls right in there along with another yellow road sign spotted in the Keys that read “Children, They Taste Like Chicken”.

You can find this oddity photo-op just off of US-1 South at Mile Marker 20.0 oceanside. Turn onto road 939B and head into the KOA Kampground finding the sign at the campsites main entrances exit lane.

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