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Old 01-09-2008, 07:44 PM
 
Location: somewhere in the south
403 posts, read 1,430,657 times
Reputation: 264

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Let me tell you about Key West

I was born here in 1943 and was raised here also, when I was little there used to military ships everywhere on along the ports and the military men would nod their head as you walked along them. There were dirt roads everywhere. Me and my friends used to go on the bikes all over Key West and we used to go into the New Town, which was then undeveloped. We would spend hours in that area fishing and catching crabs. I remember I used to had chase after chickens and my grandmother would cut their heads so we could have 'em for dinner. Oh, yes Key West was poor then, we had no money, but we got off just fine and we could afford homes. Everyone knew each other and we would hang out on our neighbor's porches all night long and laugh. The kids would be playing tag and hide and seek outside. When a hurricane came, we just prepared and once it got over we just got on with our lives. Nearly every home here in KW was filled with families with children, there was no traffic maybe, 2 out of my 20 neighbors had cars and we would just walk everywhere or we would just ride our bikes to places. Even US-1 was deserted, you could have played baseball out there for maybe 3 or 4 hours and there wouldn't be one car that would come by. We would all go to church every Sunday and have dinner with our neighbors have drinks with them. All the upper Keys were undeveloped, the beaches were clean, there were no homeless people, there were still plenty of bars but they were in more control and more family-oriented. There used to so much to do for kids to do in KW, there was bowling, fairs, carnival, dancing competitions, skating and much more. In the 1950s as I got older there was a mass migration of newcomers and along with them came roads, stores, homes, and more. I remember when New Town was becoming developed North Roosevelt Blvd and South Roosevelt Blvd. was being paved. The new homes that were built were priced as low as $5,000. As the population grew student enrollment grew massively, the number of students went from 3500 to 5200 in just a decade and 7 new schools were built during that time. During the 1970s there started to be an increase in the cost of living and the Navy had left and the economy started to weaken so the city turned to tourism. That was when homes were being converted into winter homes and families started moving out of Key West to the upper Keys. In the 1980s and 1990s KW was still modernizing and homes prices had become more resonable again, but in the late 1990s, there was soon a new turn of snow birds and the rich moving to the Keys pricing families out of the Keys and homelessness rates syrockedted and the homes which had young families living in them along Duval St. was being turned into adult nudity shops and stores for s-e-x. After that median house prices went from $88,000 to $550,000 which is not a price a family can afford. Total school enrollment in the Keys went from a peak of 10,000 in 1997 to 8001 this present year a drop of nearly 2000 students, they've all left to central Florida. They came to a nice quiet town to a disgusting dirty city. All Key West has now are single childless couples, and gays, and homeless, wealthy, snowbirds, druggies, tourists, and crackhead, once a town for families.

KW is a horrible disguting, if you think this is paradise, you must be in wonderland. KW used to be even more of a paradise back when noone had any money and KW was a town with dirt roads with no tvs or electricity. I'm only staying here because my granddaughter is in 9th grade now, but after she graduates my wife and I are planning on leaving here. It saddens and angers me and my wife to see how KW has turned out.
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Old 01-09-2008, 08:43 PM
 
Location: Heartland Florida
9,324 posts, read 23,726,019 times
Reputation: 4899
It's funny, I have seen similar changes right here in Key largo. Is there anything that we can do to sweep these big city invaders out of here?
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Old 01-09-2008, 08:50 PM
 
Location: O-Town
1,781 posts, read 6,331,191 times
Reputation: 489
Its really something I agree people come down, ruin the place complain it sucks then leave the rest of us try to clean up the mess we are left with.

Sad sorry your town has turned into that.
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Old 01-09-2008, 08:56 PM
 
1,598 posts, read 2,635,072 times
Reputation: 694
Where would you go when you leave? The Keys are so unlike anywhere else, I just have to wonder where you are contemplating going.
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Old 01-10-2008, 09:37 AM
 
Location: San Antonio-Westover Hills
6,878 posts, read 18,156,054 times
Reputation: 5152
Key West is my favorite place in the world. It makes me quite sad to read these things because I know they are true, and it seems even in just the past decade things have gone from bad to worse.

The only thing people in the Keys can do to stop it is to FIGHT. Fight for your land, fight to change and protect what you have. That is all you can do. Don't leave!

You probably know Walter Norman then, if you were born down there in '43. I love his book Nicknames and Conch Tales, it is such a great read. If you want to know about Old Key West and get that island feel, it's full of short (but true) stories about lots of colorful characters.
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Old 01-10-2008, 10:31 AM
 
Location: Heartland Florida
9,324 posts, read 23,726,019 times
Reputation: 4899
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mom2Feebs View Post
Key West is my favorite place in the world. It makes me quite sad to read these things because I know they are true, and it seems even in just the past decade things have gone from bad to worse.

The only thing people in the Keys can do to stop it is to FIGHT. Fight for your land, fight to change and protect what you have. That is all you can do. Don't leave!

You probably know Walter Norman then, if you were born down there in '43. I love his book Nicknames and Conch Tales, it is such a great read. If you want to know about Old Key West and get that island feel, it's full of short (but true) stories about lots of colorful characters.
But how can we fight those outrageous property values and taxes? I am still trying to figure out how to get mine fixed! Life is short, and fighting alone is just not going to cut it.
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Old 01-11-2008, 02:58 PM
 
Location: somewhere in the south
403 posts, read 1,430,657 times
Reputation: 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by songgirl View Post
Where would you go when you leave? The Keys are so unlike anywhere else, I just have to wonder where you are contemplating going.
possibly somewhere in Central Florida probably Lakeland
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Old 01-27-2008, 02:07 PM
 
1 posts, read 4,824 times
Reputation: 11
Default Thanks for the sketch of KW in those days,

I am wondering if you can't possibly help me make sense of the schools there in the forties? The short story is my family arrived in KW in 1943 when I was already three being born in 1940. My brother was a conch like you born in 44 in KW.

Do you recall riding past the naval housing on a road I think called Flagler which was next to a marsh that bordered the airport? I sailed many a toy boat in that area, in the drainage trenches and pools even while my mother worried about a barracuda biting me! One had washed inward by a hurricane and killed in one of those little pools. Great days.

Well, I have often wondered about the preschool I went to, I know to be a Catholic school, a large stone wall around it whose size I would frequently scale to escape the nuns since I didn't like the place. I do remember the whole class turning out to stand on the road to witness Truman ride by. If I have that right. But I wondered if you remember the name of that catholic school?

Then there was the public elementary school, to which I went in the third grade. Wondered if you remembered it or possibly went there yourself?

Then an old ball park where circus like shows with autos were held. I don't think this was too far from the naval housing. Maybe you were there yourself.

Then those T-34s (?) flying over to spray DDT? Following the ice trucks too. Staked sugar cane from somewhere probably Cuba.

I apologize if this isn't the right forum for such questions. But you can write me personally at [email]bradfoj@email.uc.edu[/email] if you have any info. I would appreciate it.

Thanks and I sure agree with you that the KW of that time bears little resemblance to today. How could it be otherwise?

But I can write many very detailed impressions from all aspects of life around those old barracks my family lived in in the times he worked for the navy. At least from the perspective of a young boy. Unbelievably idyllic, exotic, and never to be forgotten scenes and smells of the ocean, everyday and night for a number of years. Among which I count among the very best of my life.


Quote:
Originally Posted by kwflconch View Post
Let me tell you about Key West

I was born here in 1943 and was raised here also, when I was little there used to military ships everywhere on along the ports and the military men would nod their head as you walked along them. There were dirt roads everywhere. Me and my friends used to go on the bikes all over Key West and we used to go into the New Town, which was then undeveloped. We would spend hours in that area fishing and catching crabs. I remember I used to had chase after chickens and my grandmother would cut their heads so we could have 'em for dinner. Oh, yes Key West was poor then, we had no money, but we got off just fine and we could afford homes. Everyone knew each other and we would hang out on our neighbor's porches all night long and laugh. The kids would be playing tag and hide and seek outside. When a hurricane came, we just prepared and once it got over we just got on with our lives. Nearly every home here in KW was filled with families with children, there was no traffic maybe, 2 out of my 20 neighbors had cars and we would just walk everywhere or we would just ride our bikes to places. Even US-1 was deserted, you could have played baseball out there for maybe 3 or 4 hours and there wouldn't be one car that would come by. We would all go to church every Sunday and have dinner with our neighbors have drinks with them. All the upper Keys were undeveloped, the beaches were clean, there were no homeless people, there were still plenty of bars but they were in more control and more family-oriented. There used to so much to do for kids to do in KW, there was bowling, fairs, carnival, dancing competitions, skating and much more. In the 1950s as I got older there was a mass migration of newcomers and along with them came roads, stores, homes, and more. I remember when New Town was becoming developed North Roosevelt Blvd and South Roosevelt Blvd. was being paved. The new homes that were built were priced as low as $5,000. As the population grew student enrollment grew massively, the number of students went from 3500 to 5200 in just a decade and 7 new schools were built during that time. During the 1970s there started to be an increase in the cost of living and the Navy had left and the economy started to weaken so the city turned to tourism. That was when homes were being converted into winter homes and families started moving out of Key West to the upper Keys. In the 1980s and 1990s KW was still modernizing and homes prices had become more resonable again, but in the late 1990s, there was soon a new turn of snow birds and the rich moving to the Keys pricing families out of the Keys and homelessness rates syrockedted and the homes which had young families living in them along Duval St. was being turned into adult nudity shops and stores for s-e-x. After that median house prices went from $88,000 to $550,000 which is not a price a family can afford. Total school enrollment in the Keys went from a peak of 10,000 in 1997 to 8001 this present year a drop of nearly 2000 students, they've all left to central Florida. They came to a nice quiet town to a disgusting dirty city. All Key West has now are single childless couples, and gays, and homeless, wealthy, snowbirds, druggies, tourists, and crackhead, once a town for families.

KW is a horrible disguting, if you think this is paradise, you must be in wonderland. KW used to be even more of a paradise back when noone had any money and KW was a town with dirt roads with no tvs or electricity. I'm only staying here because my granddaughter is in 9th grade now, but after she graduates my wife and I are planning on leaving here. It saddens and angers me and my wife to see how KW has turned out.
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Old 02-01-2008, 11:37 AM
 
Location: Mountains of middle TN
5,240 posts, read 13,955,062 times
Reputation: 6062
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mom2Feebs View Post
Key West is my favorite place in the world. It makes me quite sad to read these things because I know they are true, and it seems even in just the past decade things have gone from bad to worse.

The only thing people in the Keys can do to stop it is to FIGHT. Fight for your land, fight to change and protect what you have. That is all you can do. Don't leave!

You probably know Walter Norman then, if you were born down there in '43. I love his book Nicknames and Conch Tales, it is such a great read. If you want to know about Old Key West and get that island feel, it's full of short (but true) stories about lots of colorful characters.

I feel the same way. My husband and I love KW. We used to go several times a year to de-stress when we were living in Naples. We'd take the kids on day trips once a month or so. It was so relaxing to us and the people we encountered were always so friendly.

However, I grew up on Marco Island and have the same fond memories of what life was like back when I was little. Then it was discovered in the 80s and has never been the same. Most people living there are pretty well off financially and the roads are perfectly paved. But I prefer the dirt / rock roads and little money. It was so much nicer.
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Old 11-22-2008, 11:18 AM
 
1 posts, read 4,374 times
Reputation: 10
Default Key West

I was wondering if someone could help me. My mother took my brother and I to live in Key West in 1986 or 1987. We lived in a house that was still a dirt road. All I can remember was there was a house across the street that had a chain link fence and that we had a very small front yard. I went back to Key West this past summer in July and wanted to see if my old house was there. My mother couldn't remember where it was or the street all she could remember was that it was near a small store of course she couldn't remember the name and now there are so many stores and tourists and people everywhere. My fiance and I had a nice time there and plan to visit again, the weather was beautiful and it was nice to be able to walk around instead of having take a car and our hotel room had a stove so we were able to cook our meals instead of having to eat at the outrageously expensive restaurants. The only places we did eat at were BO's Fish Wagon and Fogarty's. We ate at Fogarty's the first day we were there, I was starving and had a horrible time on the flight there. All in all, just from what I remember there as a child to what it has become now...I am not really sure what to say. It is so different and there are so many people and it's just so crowded. I can't believe how many people can even fit in one space like that. We had a nice time there and plan to go back with our children in the next couple of years, and if anyone has any ideas of what we could do please tell me. and if anyone knows anything on where I could have lived...I am not sure how many dirt roads were left in the late 80's. Thank you for your time.
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