201 William St
Key West, FL 33040
The Key West Art & Historical Society is excited to partner with Waterfront Brewery for a series of fun historical lectures entitled ‘Happy Hour with the Historian’. Attendees will receive two 4oz. beer samples, and will be treated to a short presentation on the craft beers by a member of the brewery team.
Historian: Cori Convertito Ph.D.
Topic: Industries of Key West
Despite Key West’s relatively young age, the island has enjoyed several unique industrial endeavors. Even before Florida’s establishment as a U.S. territory in 1821, many of Key West’s residents were actively involved in various trades including wrecking and salvaging. This commerce helped the island develop into an economic center and soon it became Florida’s largest populated city. With the influx of new residents came the inevitable growth in industry; most notable were sponging and turtle fishing, both of which emerged in the 1850s.
By the 1860s, business was booming in Key West. The city’s rich and diverse economy enticed additional investors and developers, some of whom were skilled Cuban cigar manufacturers. They soon established several cigar manufacturing companies on the island, yielding an explosion among the Cuban population. The combined income from each industry made Key West the richest city per capita in the United States on the eve of the Civil War.