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Preserve America is a national initiative in cooperation with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation; the U.S. Departments of Defense, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, and Education; the National Endowment for the Humanities; the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities; and the President's Council on Environmental Quality.

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Preserve America Community:
Key West, Florida

Located near the end of the Florida Keys, Key West has a population of more than 27,000 inhabitants and is the southern-most city in the continental United States.

Ernest Hemingway's typewriter sits atop a table next to his chair.
Key West, Florida, was home to Nobel Prize-winning American author Ernest Hemingway. His typewriter and chair are on display at his home, which is open to the public
. (Photo courtesy of the Ernest Hemingway House and Museum)

Key West has a long-standing commitment to historic preservation, as evidenced by creation of its Old Island Restoration Commission in 1965 to protect historic resources located in the old section of the city. The boundaries of this area have been expanded and are now recognized as a National Register Historic District. Key West has been designated a Certified Local Government by the National Park Service since 1991.

Over the years, Key West has partnered with private enterprises and non-profit organizations to preserve its historical heritage and educate both residents and visitors about the city's colorful past. Tourism is the city's primary economic generator, with a particular emphasis on heritage tourism tied to Key West's history as a maritime and trade center.

Recently, the city partnered with local business owners and non-profit organizations to rehabilitate buildings in the Bight, the city's historic seaport area, including the adaptive re-use of an historic sea turtle cannery that now houses a sea turtle rescue center.

Key West is also home to the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum, which brings maritime history to life through exhibits, public education, and numerous children's programs. It is housed in a large historic military structure that has recently been restored with city assistance.

Key West historic resources are also featured in a walking/driving tour developed by the Historic Florida Keys Foundation, helping to interpret local sites for many visitors each year.

For more information

National Register Travel Itinerary: http://www.cr.nps.gov/nr/travel/flshipwrecks/

Updated August 6, 2007

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