Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Truman Annex

Truman Annex used to stick out a lot more in Key West when there seemed (to me) to be more of a split between the colorful eccentric city and the restrained segregated annex hidden behind its gates and fences. These days to someone of my jaundiced eye the entire city sometimes feels like an annex, occupied part time by people whose claim to eccentricity is having bought a property for far too much money.
Looking through the Presidential Gates, so called rather grandiloquently because they are supposed to only open for a President, we can see Caroline Street leading toward Duval. Not a clean tidy street to be sure but not exactly run down.
Truman Annex was the brainchild of a young Pritam Singh, the developer who came to Key West penniless and slept rough and who made a fortune through Truman Annex despite the fact his first bid for the former Navy property sent him bankrupt.
It is one of those Key West legends in the style of "today's the day" the battle cry of the man who found the treasure- Mel Fisher.
Singh created the "key West style" for him homes which can be seen here and at the golf course and at Tranquility Bay in Marathon.
White picket fences, balconies, lots of greenery and white paint. It is the style of Old Town rendered clean and modern and easy to live in with modern conveniences.
Because this used to be a Navy Base it was a good place for vacationing Presidents to stay and be secure. President Truman stayed as much as he could and when he was in town her lived the Navy Commandant's House which became known as "The Little White House."
It remains a visitor attraction in the Annex surrounded by all the carefully groomed homes in this enclave.
I saw these style of buildings at the Panama Canal  which was built in the same era in a similar climate. Nowadays these are sales and rental offices for the realtors on the property:

The streets inside the annex are additions to the streets outside the fences:

I can see the desire of some people to stay here free of chickens and parking problems, no bums and peace and quiet.
Now that the rest of the city seems less raucous the annex in turn seems less exclusive in some way.
The crowds on Duval Street seem to be rolling up the carpet earlier in the city than in decades past.
The working class are being pushed out and artists need to make a lot of money to live here anymore.

All of Old Town Key West seems to be gentrifying, catching up the annex as it were...
And outside the fences I took a picture of the US Custom House, a tourist attraction with a museum well worth the visit.
Right in the path of the cruise ship hordes.