Wednesday, October 12, 2011

walk through history

Key West Cemetery, Passover Lane
established 1847
19 acres located on Solares Hill
elevation 18 feet above sea level

wrought iron and wood fences mark family plots

estimated 100,000 residents
buried above or below ground

U.S.S. Maine Memorial
a solitary bronze sailor overlooks the plain white marble markers commemorating the victims of the 1898 sinking of the battleship U.S.S.Maine in Havana Harbor

Unlike modern public cemeteries with their uniform rows and grass and rules about flowers (when and where and how long can they stay?), the old Key West cemetery has a lot of personality. The epitaphs are amusing to touching, the tombstones are simple to ornate, the residents represent the history and heritage of Key West, from sailors and soldiers to cigar makers, millionaires, paupers, people of all races, Catholics, Protestants and Jews rest side-by-side.

The cemetery was relocated here to Solares Hill after a hurricane destroyed the former cemetery near Higgs Beach. This is the highest spot on the island at 18 feet above sea level. A lot of graves are above ground because of the hardness of the coral rock and of course because of the water level. Note: At Buddy's construction site footings were dug for columns and the holes promptly filled up with pretty blue sea water!

A must-see stop if you visit Key West, go in the early morning or on an overcast day as it is hot, walking or riding a bike is a good way to see everything. Free maps and tour guide at office.

Cemetery tour and map found HERE


Barbara Morey said...

Susan, Thank you for the tour. I find old cemeteries romanic, mysterious, full of wonder, sad, lonely, beautiful and captivating. Thank you for sharing these wonderful photos. I find Betty Pearl Roberts family tomb very interesting and the saying to go along with it humorous. Poor Betty, sounds like nobody listened.

Shreya said...

A great collection of pictures. Liked it. :)

Have a look at my blog if you like, here is the link: