- It may sound morbid to go strolling through cemeteries, but this cemetery is also a historical landmark. Established in 1847 and covering nearly 20 acres, the cemetery features one historic memorial that shelters the remains of U.S. sailors killed in the 1898 explosion of the battleship Maine in Havana Harbor, while another is dedicated to those who died in the 1868-1878 Ten Years' War between Cuba and Spain.
You will see unique headstones, like a ship's mast or the famous one reading, "I told you I was sick."
Restoration work on tombs, gravesites and fences at the historic cemetery, whose memorials and monuments honor the island city's early residents and milestones in local and regional history is ongoing. Funded with the help of a state historic preservation grant awarded to the City of Key West, the work includes restoration of monuments, brick tombs, headstones and cast-iron plot enclosures on some of the cemetery's historically significant memorials.
The cemetery, located off Margaret and Angela streets in Key West's historic district, incorporates below-ground burials and stone-encased above-ground graves. Some structures have been weathered by time and climate, or neglected because living descendants can't be traced.
The Key West Cemetery is open daily from sunrise to dusk. Guided tours are scheduled at 9:30 a.m. every Tuesday and Thursday. Reservations are required and can be made by calling the Historic Florida Keys Foundation. Tours begin at the cemetery's main entrance on Margaret Street. Self-guided tour brochures and maps are available as well.
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