This is Key West’s Historic Armory, Dance Hall, & Community Center. A portion of the Historical Marker standing out front on the curb reads: “This 1903 armory was described as ‘an unusual wood framed building,’ and was one of the few armories built in the South due to lack of funds following the Civil War (1861-1865). The Italianate-style Key West Armory incorporates an arched entrance, twin six-sided pointed turrets, a tall parapet as well as towers and cupolas. Key West was an important Union base during the Civil War. Volunteer troops that helped defend Key West from the Confederates were known as the Key West Rifles. The Armory served as a training facility during World War I and II and later became a community center.” My mother has told me that she and her friends had gone there many times while a community center for dances at what they called the ‘Dance Hall’.
To clarify the term ‘Union base’ from the above marker, Key West was the Northern Yankees most southern stronghold during the entire Civil War never losing its grip even though surrounded by the Confederate Southern Rebels.
Now back to the historic building: It’s truly a beautifully rare intact building ready for your photographic pleasure. Here’s a tidbit for you: In 1969 the Armory was in such a state of decay that the State of Florida gave Key West permission to tear it down, two concerned citizens stepped in forming the Historical Preservation Board saving it from the wrecking ball as written on the smaller plaque seen below.
You can find the awesome example of turn of the century architecture at 600 White Street in the wild and crazy town we call Key West!