A horrible hurricane that hit the island on October 11, 1846 disinterred most of the bodies in the original burial ground near the Southernmost Point, so a new location on higher ground in the center of Key West was chosen. The new graveyard is located in a little residential area in Old Town on the appropriately names Passover Lane.
The cemetery sits on about 19 acres. There are about 100,000 people of all religions and walks of life buried here. The rich ordered huge stone monuments and grave markers while the poor have nothing more than a small tile. Some of the headstones are even quite humorous with lines like, “I told you I was sick.” These markers are all a great example of the diversity of the island as well as its rich history. Today, residents are still buried here.
The Historic Florida Keys Foundation provides preservation services for the cemetery and the staff also offer walking tours for visitors twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9:30 AM; reservations are required. These tours raise funds for the preservation of the cemetery. However, you can also tour it on your own. The cemetery is open daily from 7 am to 7 pm in the summer and from 7 am to 6 pm in the winter. The Key West Cemetery is also one of the stops on the Old Town Trolley tour.
For more information about things to do and see in Key West visit www.gotothekeys.com.