Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Fences And Signs

The tourist trolleys and trains call this the Presidential Gate to Truman Annex, at the end of Caroline Street at Whitehead.

The US on the white columns is a hint that this was once an entrance to a Navy Base. Now it is a gated community with Rules. Lots of them.

President Truman, we are told repeatedly, spent many vacations, hundreds of days in Key West during his presidency so much so the Navy Commandant's house where he stayed became known as the Little White House.

I can only come here when Cheyenne stays at home which is sad. The good bit is she can't read anyway.

To warn visitors they have further to go there are lots of these signs on all the fences:

The story goes that a young man came to Key West from Boston slept rough and got an idea. He managed, when the Navy auctioned off 17 acres to buy them on the second attempt and somehow raised the money to build a gated development of Key West style homes, as he put it.

The developer Pritam Singh still lives in town and has exported the Key West style to other developments and includes lots of greenery in all of them.

This isn't my style of living but it works for lots of people. The Annex has been a damned nuisance for the city and the Truman Annex Master Property Owners Association has been involved in legal disputes more than once.

One issue was that the property owners wanted to be allowed to rent short term, defined by the city as less than 28 days and usually only allowed by special permit in the city.

There was a lot of argy bargy back and forth as lawyers do, arguing there was some secret clause in early sales contracts allowing such rentals. There were stories of happy retirees-to-be who were likely to be rendered bankrupt by a refusal to allow vacation rentals...and in the end a compromise was worked out whereby the city surrendered. I can't recall exactly but I think someone found the secret clause.

Then TAMPOA decided to install a gate at the main entrance to the Annex on Southard Street. There was another secret clause allowing the private property association to block off a city street. They argued that issue for a while.

Once again the city promptly bent over to TAMPOA and surrendered it's rights over a public street. The association started to install a gate.

Then the US Navy saved the day for the weak kneed civilians. The Navy told TAMPOA to stuff their gate where the sun doesn't shine and the bullies of the gated community ate their hats and promised only to put a guard at the entrance after ten pm and access was still open to all.

The city surrender to TAMPOA required it to build an alternative road to Truman Waterfront via Petronia Street bypassing the Annex which is what I use mostly to avoid the guard house on Southard which is unoccupied during the day. But tha sentry box aggravates me by it's presence.

So now things are peaceful, as they should be, and in the winter short term renters will come to town, and stay here just steps away from the fun and rum on Duval Street.

Chickens bring a touch of local color to this reserved neighborhood.

But the gates are in place, lest we forget.

Even if like me you don't like gates the Annex is worth a walk, for it is clean and tidy and peaceful.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Anonymous said...

The whole concept of the Annex and the mentality of the people who run it piss me off. But you're right, it is a nice place to walk through and while their conception of Key West architecture is bogus the abundance of greenery makes it a pleasant but not very interesting place.

bobskoot said...

Mr Conchscooter:

WHOA, wait a minute. If you are working day shift, then how do you get these DAY photos ? these do turn out better than the ones taken in the dark of night, there is more detail in them

Riding the Wet Coast

David B. said...

What usually rankles me are the lovely matrons of the North escorting their visitors through the gates into the Annex with the statement, "Now, let me show you the REAL Key West." The sad fact is that they really believe it.