East Martello Fort & Museum

A cannon at the East Martello Fort.

A cannon at the East Martello Fort.

I have lived in the Keys since the 1990’s, and in all if this time I had never been inside the East Martello Fort and Museum until this past weekend. Located next to the Key West International Airport and overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, it is easy to find. Before I visited the only thing that I new about the Fort was that it was built during the Civil War and that it houses the creepy Robert the Doll, and that fact did not excite me.  But I decided to check it out with my Dad this weekend before he flew back home to New Jersey. It was Halloween after all, and what better time is there for creepy than that!?

The East Martello Fort was actually built in 1862. It has walls that are eight feet thick made of brick and granite. Like the other Forts on the island, this one never experienced a hostile assault, and it was already rendered obsolete even before the Civil War was over due to new munitions that would be able to go right through this brick and granite edifice.

The courtyard of the East Martello Fort and Museum.

The courtyard of the East Martello Fort and Museum.

I love the old, brick facade. It really draws one’s attention. Inside it is an old Fort that now houses (besides Robert the Doll) many Key West artifacts and lots of historical island information. There is also a cute little gift shop that sells books and other trinkets including Robert the Doll replicas that you can all be sure that I did not purchas

Exhibits were wide ranging in subject matter, all relating to Key West of course. Key West’s military history with the Spanish American War, WWI and WWII, and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Sponging. Salting. Diving. Fishing. Wrecking. Cigar manufacturing. Aviation. And then there is the weird with not only Robert the Doll but also Count Von Cosel (aka Carl Tanzler) and his Norman Bates-like obsession with the beautiful local girl Elena.

The Fort also serves as an art gallery, displaying some of the folk art of Mario Sanchez and a sculpture garden filled with works by Stanley Papio.

Here are two of the many sculptures located outside at the East Martello Fort and Museum.

Here are two of the many sculptures located outside at the East Martello Fort and Museum.

I found that while interesting, the “exhibits” lacked any orderly displays. It was basically like walking through a hodgepodge of Key West history all mixed up along with modern things like pressure washers that were left laying around by the museum staff. I was not really disappointed with my visit, but perhaps wishing that it was set up more professionally to draw in more folks.

East Martello Fort and Museum is open daily from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm and it is closed on Christmas. Cost is $9 per adult and $5 per child. Discounts are available for students, seniors, and locals.

See what is happening on the island during your visit by checking out our Key West Events Calendar, and for other things to do and see in our island city, go to our Key West Web Site.

Before making your dining reservations for while in Key West check out our restaurant reviews!

Feel free to Email Me if you have any questions about Key West!!
Island Genn
Key West Concierge

Key West Historic Markers

Key West Historical Markers

Key West Historical Markers

For all of those history buffs out there, Key West has a very long and rich history. And if you are visiting the island, you should really take a self guided history tour via the Historic Markers. All around the island at different historical locations you will find markers, or plaques, with a short story about that particular site’s significance to the history of Key West. The numbers at the top of the markers refer to the location on the island. The 52 markers in all have to do mainly with the settling of Key West, the cigar industry, the military hold. Below is a list of markers that you should visit along with their locations.

  1. Captain George Carey House – 410 Caroline Street
  2. The Key West Women’s Club – 319 Duval Street
  3. The Oldest House – 322 Duval Street
  4. Dr. Joseph Yates Porter House –  429 Caroline Street
  5. James Haskins House – at the corner of Fleming and Southard Streets
  6. Casa Antigua – 314 Simonton Street
  7. The Oldest Drug Store – 500 Simonton Street
  8. The Southernmost House – 1400 Duval Street
  9. Fire Station – 1026 Grinnell
  10. Key West Armory – 600 White Street
  11. The Patterson Baldwin House – 336 Duval Street
  12. La Concha Hotel – 430 Duval Street
  13. William Wall Warehouse – 410 Wall Street on Mallory Square
  14. The Neighborhood Store – 600 Frances Street
  15. Martinez Havana Company Factory – 2010 Staples Street
  16. The Cosgrove House – 323 Whitehead Street
  17. E.H. Gato Cigar Factory – 1100 Simonton Street
  18. Fogarty Mansion – 227 Duval Street
  19. The Speakeasy – 1117 Duval Street
  20. The Gato Village Pocket Park – 616 Louisa Street
  21. Gatoville – 1100 block of Simonton
  22. Key West Electric Company – 1001 James Street
  23. Fuente House – 706 Elizabeth Street
  24. Trumbo Naval Air Station – at the entrance of Trumbo Point
  25. Freeman Curry House – 724 Eaton Street
  26. USCG Ingham – 0 Southard Street
  27. The Cable Hut – concrete structure next to the Southernmost Point
  28. 1886 Fire – 500 Duval Street
  29. Cuban Missile Crisis – South Roosevelt Boulevard
  30. La Terraza de Marti – 1125 Duval Street
  31. Cigar Capital of the World – 540 Greene Street
  32. John Dewey House – 504 South Street
  33. Bruce Hall – 1310 United Street
  34. Ferdinand Hirsch Cigar Factory – 930 Catherine Street
  35. Roosters – Duval Street
  36. Mallory Steam Line – 402 Wall Street
  37. St. Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church – 1010 Windsor Lane
  38. Mosquito Fleet – 123 Main
  39. 1846 Havana Hurricane – 33 East Quay Road
  40. Benjamin Curry House – 610 Southard Street
  41. Steam Power – 123 Main
  42. Outer Mole – 33 East Quay Road
  43. Marine Hospital – 123 Main
  44. Sponging – 123 Main
  45. Civil War Union Blockade – 123 Main
  46. Clinton Square – 281 Front Street
  47. Conch Republic – 402 Wall Street
  48. Ponce de Leon – 1405 Duval Street
  49. Yellow Fever – 625 White Street
  50. West Martello Tower – 1100 Atlantic Boulevard
  51. Salt Production – Key West International Airport
  52. Submarine Base – 33 East Quay Road
  53. Curry Mansion – 511 Caroline Street
  54. Island House Resort – 1129 Fleming Street

Before deciding where you are going to eat while visiting our island home, be sure to read my Key West restaurant reviews; check out our restaurant review section of this blog as well as our restaurant reviews.

To see what is happening on the island during your visit, check out our Key West Events Calendar to see other upcoming special events. For more information about the fun side of Key West… things to do and see in our island city, go to our Key West Web Site.

Feel free to Email Me if you have any questions about Key West!!

Island Genn

Key West Concierge