May 2, 2018 – (Key West, FL).   “Key West’s Duval Street” historic photos the subject of next  Key West Art & Historical Society Distinguished Speaker Series presentation

On Thursday, May 17, Key West Art & Historical Society’s Distinguished Speaker Series welcomes historians Laura Albritton and Jerry Wilkinson to Old City Hall, 510 Greene Street, where they will offer archival photographs and their accompanying stories of one of the most legendary avenues in the United States. The 6:00pm presentation of “Key West’s Duval Street” traces the development and origins of the iconic thoroughfare.

“From its origins as a humble footbridge, Duval Street has evolved into one of the country’s best known avenues,” says Albritton. “For close to two centuries, it has survived fires and hurricanes, as well as economic free-falls and war-time booms.”

Highlights will include famous buildings such as Key West’s Oldest House, St. Paul’s Church, the Southernmost House, the San Carlos Institute, and La Concha Hotel, along with fabled bars during the Prohibition and the Depression.

“During Prohibition, Duval Street saw its fair share of speakeasies, including one joint housed inside a famous mansion,” says Albritton. “From humble backyard bars to a swanky restaurant that covertly served liquor, there were plenty of places to imbibe during America’s “dry” period.”

Florida Keys historian Jerry Wilkinson first arrived in Key West in 1947, and has seen the development of Duval Street firsthand. He currently serves on the board of the Historic Florida Keys Foundation and the Florida Keys History & Discovery Center, and is president of the Historical Preservation Society of the Upper Keys. He also coauthored Arcadia titles “Key Largo” and “Islamorada.”

Author Laura Albritton has written for the Miami Herald, Harvard Review, Sculpture magazine, the Florida Keys Weekly, and the blog Authentic Florida. Her books include the guide “Miami for Families and Marathon: The Middle Keys,” co-written with Wilkinson. The author’s will have copies of their book, Key West’s Duval Street, available for purchase and signing after the presentation.

“Almost every kind of human drama has played out on Duval Street: births, deaths, baptisms, graduations, romances, artistic expression, protests, politicking, hard partying, religious worship, preparations of war, and celebrations of peace,” says Albritton. “Duval Street isn’t just a street: it’s a remarkable prism through which to view Key West history.”

Distinguished Speaker Series presentation tickets are $5 for KWAHS members, $10 for non-members, and are available at kwahs.org, click ‘tickets.” Early ticket purchase is recommended.  Sponsored by the Helmerich Trust and the State of Florida Division of Cultural Affairs. For more information, contact Adele Williams, Director of Education, at 305.295.6616, x115. Your Museums.  Your Community.  It takes an Island.