Florida / North America / Pic of the Week / Southeastern USA

“Pic of the Week”, June 18, 2021: Key West’s Old Custom House

00 Custom House, Key West

One of the most impressive buildings in Key West’s historic seaport is the old Custom House, today the Key West Museum of Art & History.

Key West was an important and growing city in 19th century Florida. Authorities saw the need for a proper Custom House and authorized its construction in 1885, adjacent to the U.S. Naval base. It was completed in 1891 and became home to the island’s customs office, postal service, and district courts.

In 1932, the building transferred to the U.S. Navy and became headquarters for their Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico operations. The Navy no longer needed the building in the 1950s and it was abandoned for many years. Despite being abandoned, it was placed on the National Register of Historical Places in 1973. The Customs House was purchased in the 1990s by the State of Florida and leased to the Key West Art & Historical Society for use as an museum.

It has been modernized and restored and is a popular museum. Its art spills onto the surrounding sidewalks, as you can see from these photos

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance slideshow)


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