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Key West

Key West, the southern-most city in the United States, though important to trade in the early 1800s was insignificant during the Civil War. The lighthouse was built in 1825. Fort Taylor in Key West and Fort Jefferson at Dry Tortugas were both started during the Mexican War of 1846-1848. Due to the salvaging done by the wreckers and trade with the West Indies, Key West in 1830 was said to be the richest city per capita in the U.S.

When Florida seceded from the Union, the state militia occupied Fort Taylor and Fort Jefferson. This had little effect because the town of Key West remained in Federal hands and the area was blockaded by Union ships. Also, the U.S. Government built the two Martello Towers at the beginning of the Civil War. Consequently, there was no trade going on. Due to this and the blockade of other Florida ports on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, as well as the devastation of ports cities in North Florida, by the end of the war Florida was poor!

Image of town from Florida...
Bache, A.D.
1849-1853

Federal writer’s project of the WPA Survey of area & Dry Tortugas from U.S coast survey by A.D. Bache, 1849-1853.

References