VIRTUAL Happy Hour with the Historian | History of the Custom House
26-August from 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Historian: Cori Convertito Ph.D.
Topic: Custom Made, A History of the Custom House
Whether by land, sea, or air, it’s hard to miss the ornate, four-story Custom House Museum that stands sentinel over the island—just about everyone who lives in or visits Key West can reference the red brick building located at the foot of Front Street. What might not be so obvious is the history it holds – from the exhibits within, to the gallery walls they are hung upon, and the tin roof that protects it all – and the painstaking efforts that have been made (and are still underway) to preserve the architectural crown jewel of the island.
Among the most architecturally significant buildings in Florida and a superb example of Richardsonian Romanesque Architecture (and the only one of its kind in the Keys), the Custom House wasn’t always a museum. Opened to the public in 1891 as a centerpiece of federal authority in the State of Florida, it originally housed the Collector of Customs, the Postal Service, Federal Courthouse and the Lighthouse 7th District Office, serving as Key West’s nerve center.