Key West’s 1886 Devastating Fire


Key West’s ‘Old Town’ the morning after fire

Exactly 133 years ago TODAY (+1 day) 🙂 a devastating fire ravaged Key West’s ‘Old Town’ and Duval Street! Sadly this was NO APRIL FOOLS JOKE.

Here’s a Key West historical marker that I bet 10,000 people pass on a daily basis without ever knowing it’s there. Yes, on Key West’s busiest street, Duval Street, this tiny 4″ wide x 10″ tall sign goes unnoticed by the masses. I’m determined to inform you my educated readers where it is and what it says so that you may seek it out on your next trip.

Key West’s most devastating fire was ignited in a coffee shop next to the San Carlos Institute at 2:00 a.m. April 1, 1886. The fire raged for 12 hours as it raced through the center of the city, 16 cigar factories, 200 houses and several warehouses. Suspicions of murder, intrigue, and revolutionary aspirations swirl around its history. Since the fire, Key West has required all roofs to be made of metal to deter a future fire from spreading so quickly. I think they call that “A day late and a dollar short”!

You can find this overlooked historic maker mounted on a wall at 516 Duval Street on the left side of the San Carlos Institute building pictured below.

1886%20Fire%201     IMG_9688     4463160312_306c8f08b2_b

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