Key West Celebrates 200th Anniversary

Key West Beginnings

On March 25, 1822, Navy Lieutenant Matthew Perry sailed the schooner Shark to Key West, claiming the island for America. Key West is strategically located, guarding Florida from possible threats from the Gulf and Atlantic. In 1823, a naval base was established in Key West. It is now known as Mallory Square. Initially, this was the command center for Captain David Porter’s “Mosquito Fleet”. These small ships patrolled the surrounding waters for pirates and escorted American ships to safety.

Throughout the years, the island has played many roles for the military. For more about the history of Key West, read our “A Brief History of Key West“. And, make sure to check out some of Key West’s many historical sites while visiting!

Key West Bicentennial Celebrations

200 years later, the island still plays an important role for the country. And, since Key West likes to party, it should be no surprise that there will be a celebration! So, to celebrate Key West’s bicentennial, several events are scheduled for March 2022.

  • 3/20 – The Key West Historical Society will present Lieutenant Perry’s original logbook for permanent safekeeping to the Monroe County Public Library’s Florida History Department in Key West.
  • 3/22 – Screening of the documentary, “Key West, Come as You Are: 200 Years of History and Culture”.
  • 3/23 – Conch Revival Picnic at the Key West Lighthouse.
  • 3/24 – Historian Tom Hambright will discuss Key West History at the San Carlos Institute.
  • 3/25 – Key West Heritage Festival will include a reenactment of Lieutenant Perry planting the American flag followed by a dedication of a time capsule to be opened in 50 years. Later that evening, the Old Island Restoration Foundation will host the Key West Bicentennial Celebratory Gala at the Oldest House Museum.
  • 3/26 – Bicentennial Heritage Festival at the Truman Waterfront Park.

In addition to these events, the exhibit, “Key West 200”, is on display at the Custom House through December 11.

And, beginning March 25, you can get an envelope stamped with a commemorative U.S. Postal Service pictorial Key West postmark. The stamp can be obtained for 30 days after its unveiling.

So, if you are visiting Key West in March 2022, make sure to check out at least one of these events!

More About Key West

March is a great time of year for Backcountry Fishing. The tarpon start to show up this month, joining other species such as barracudas, sharks, jacks and others that we fish for in this area. And, the calm, shallow waters keeps people from getting seasick during this particularly windy month.

For more about Key West, go to our Key West Web Site. And, remember to check out our restaurant reviews as you surely must eat while down here!

Island Genn – Key West Concierge

About the author: Island Genn

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