VIRTUAL Happy Hour with the Historian | Presidential Visits to the Florida Keys
24-August from 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM
VIRTUAL Happy Hour with the Historian | Presidential Visits to the Florida Keys with Cori Convertito
Wednesday, August 24, 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
The Key West Art & Historical Society is excited to present a series of VIRTUAL fun historical lectures entitled ‘Happy Hour with the Historian’.
Historian: Cori Convertito Ph.D.
Topic: Presidential Visits to the Florida Keys
Key West, a 2×4 mile island, and the surrounding Florida Keys, don’t jump to mind when discussing U.S. Presidential retreats. The Keys are not industrial centers with hundreds of thousands of laborers. Coupled with that, historically speaking, the island have not been easily accessible, and the on-island facilities are not ample.
Despite its relatively small size the islands have hosted their fair share of U.S. Presidents. The purpose for the visits to the Keys have, much like the islands’ own history, shifted in purpose. Early presidential visits focused on business, small industry and the Keys’ geographic location. Very much aligned with the Keys’ stature at the time – linked to Cuba, the Bahamas, the West Indies and South America with its citizens focused on industries such as wrecking, sponging and cigar manufacturing.
As the Florida Keys marched into the 20th century, the local economy was forced to reevaluate their revenue streams, morphing into a tourism-based economy. The reasons behind presidential visits also seemed to follow the Florida Keys curve – taking to the islands for recreational purposes rather than business and government interests.
This talk will examine the U.S. Presidents who visited the Florida Keys – some during their time in office, and others outside their presidential duties.
This project is sponsored in part by the Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture, the Florida Council on Arts and Culture and the State of Florida, with additional support provided by The Helmerich Trust.