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.
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. 😦 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.
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! 🙂
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!
Finding 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.
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! 🙂 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.
Whether it’s kayaking or canoeing you’re into really doesn’t matter because this place has them both!
Seen in the featured photo is another photo, not quite sure where it is… but I know it’s not of the Florida Keys since we don’t have any mountains! 🙂 In the picture below, the colored canoes & kayaks make a great rainbow-type photo with someone from your group kneeling beside or behind them. I didn’t get the exact price to rent either but assure you all they’re not free. 🙂
You can find these kayaks & canoes and other day-long activities all over the John Pennekamp State Park on US-1 at Mile Marker 102.3 oceanside across the street from the CASTLE… you’ll know what I mean once you see it! The park does change an entrance fee per car’s occupants… if I recall, maybe the $3 to $4 range. The park is so well worth the price, bring a picnic and make a day of it, there’s that much here to do!