South Florida Sunshine

Key West Photo Series Guest Blog Part 2

Bio picMy friend, Lynda Quintero-Davids, is back with part two of her Key West series.  This amazing photographer, designer, and blogger recently visited Key West and has a wonderful viewpoint to share.  I hope you enjoy this installment in a taste of:

THE HOUSES OF KEY WEST PART 2 – Hurricane Alley and America’s Southernmost Point

With the start of summer also comes the start of Hurricane Season. And like a carrot dangling in front of a rabbit, so is Key West. Builders far and wide come to Key West (and some should) to study its resilient architecture to learn how these homes have withstood hurricanes, termites, neglect and even the Great Depression. I too am learning about its style & architecture… Here’s some of what I’ve found, along with some photos I captured from our recent anniversary trip to Key West

Love the painted underside of the portico…
On Simonton gingerbread details and painted shutters
More details on Duval
Grand architecture of a conch house

One of the most recognizable architecture styles of Key West homes are simple shotgun homes (aka cigar makers house) and which can also be found in New Orleans architecture. Simple shotgun style Key West architecture traces its origin to West Africa and the French Caribbean. These balloon-frame homes for cigar makers were small and simple, one story and one room wide — with three rooms end to end so a shot fired from the front door could exit the back door without resistance.

Oh so coastal…

One of the more famous cigar houses of Key West was actually converted into a historic cottage inn called Simonton Court, and is located on Hurricane Alley. Cigar houses were established by Englishman William Hall in 1831 and the Cubans. The cigar industry was one of the three main thriving economies at the start of Key West’s history (wrecking industry*, sponge industry (from the Bahamians) and cigar industry (from the Cubans). I would have thought that with Key West having been so heavily populated with Cubans, the roof tops would have been finished with Cuban barrel tile (shaped on the leg of a woman), but because of fires, many roof tops were constructed of tin to deflect flying embers.

Although many of the houses were constructed of wood, over time and devastation from havoc of not only hurricanes but fires, buildings were also constructed of concrete or brick.  A portion of this brick can still be found at an old cigar house turned inn called Simonton Court.  If you’ve picked up a Summer Catalog from Pottery Barn this year, you’ve already been introduced to Simonton Court, and if not, you can learn more about Pottery Barn’s photo shoot in the Florida Keys here.
“Simonton Court is a group of very unique rooms,
created from an old cigar makers’ factory –

No two are alike, but each are charming.”
Simonton Court Resort
“A brick walkway, once a lane,
runs past sparkling pools and historic cottages
built in 1880 as the homes of cigar factory workers.”
Pineapples – the symbol of “Welcome”
are a prominent decor detail throughout Key West

Simonton Court resides on Simonton Street, which is said to be also named Hurricane Alley. Simonton Street was named after the purchaser of the island, John W. Simonton. Although he purchased the island in January 1822, he was deemed the legal owner of the island (Key West aka Cayo

Hueso) until May 1828. His story is actually a part Florida’s first land scam. Learn more about the history of Key West here.

For the rest of Linda’s beautiful photography and commentary please visit her blog “FOCAL POINT”

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  1. * boatliving says:

    I love the style of the homes in Key West, can’t find it anywhere else!


    | Reply Posted 8 years, 10 months ago
  2. * Carol Phillips says:

    I have truly enjoyed the pictures of the houses there on Key West(along with reading some of the history)…It is truly one fascinating place to visit….the people are friendly, good food and great relaxation are to be found there. If you have never been I would suggest you try to get there….you may never want to leave!!

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 10 months ago
    • * Sunshine Michelle says:

      Carol, I don’t think I could put it any better myself. Thank you.

      | Reply Posted 8 years, 10 months ago
  3. * Cheryl Leek says:

    I have enjoyed the reading and pictures you”ve shown in your article. It’s almost like being there!!

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 10 months ago
  4. * Gail Cooley says:

    Magnificent! Just as I remember.

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 10 months ago
  5. Hey Michelle!
    Thanks again for featuring my photos and snippets from my blog post! Glad to see people are reading and enJOYing the post! =)

    Many thanks to you and your readers… and for all that is the beauty of Key West…

    Lynda Quintero-Davids

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 10 months ago
  6. * Stacy Wessels says:

    And there are no houses that can’t be tented for termite extermination!

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 10 months ago

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