Wednesday, October 14, 2020


Florida Keys Grave Yard
Were you to type the word "cemetery" in the search box at the top left hand corner of this page many efforts of mine to record the cemetery would pop up. 
I love the Key West cemetery for its ambiance, a park like space that invites meditation in the middle of a town frequently filled with frantic party goers with no interest in the history represented by these graves.
I don't suppose the docents are giving tours in these pandemic times but when they open up again the historical society docents are well worth the tip. Beyond the handful of memorable or even famous graves the entire plot is filled with the history of what is, beyond the bars and the tourist advertising a particular small town. 
"US Navy. Spanish American War"  In those days Key West was a frontier town on an open border. With Cuba largely closed off to garner the political support of Miami' exile community Key West feels more like a cul de sac than a jumping off point. The reverse is also true, so the absorption of foreign influences drops as well. 
The Albury family name is well known in the Bahamas, as the Abaco Islands have exchanged residents with Key West all through the 19th century.
The above ground nature of the cemetery is required by high water table levels under the limestone rock. Nevertheless the view across the above ground cemetery reminds a viewer of the more famous graveyard in New Orleans and similar styles of burial across certain European countries.
Kemp. You may have heard of Kemp's Ridley Turtles. Discovered by Richard Kemp who is also buried in this cemetery they got their name (derived obviously from his) to differentiate them from the Olive Ridley turtle.
Like I said it is a pleasant place to stroll and you can even use it as a short cut from Margaret Street to Frances Street  across the middle of Key West. 
Scooters have been banned for a long time thanks as usual to inconsiderate behavior. Cars and bicycles are permitted.  
I see the grave yard as a place of history and a pleasant place to walk and think, but it is very much a working cemetery. Family members visit, funerals happen, new memories are buried here. Act appropriately.