Key West is the southernmost point in the continental United States.
And a visit to the island almost necessitates recognizing this unique geographical fact.
Every day, hundreds of visitors have their photo taken next to the large painted cement buoy that sits on the corner of Whitehead Street and South Street. Years ago, a beloved island resident named Albert Kee sold seashells by the marker and a statue is planned to be erected in his honor.
For visitors, expect a line of people cued up for their opportunity to take a photo. This is one of the most visited places on the island.
As noted on the marker, a mere 90 miles due south from that point is the island of Cuba.
There is also a plaque mounted on this site which details the history of that area. It reads:
Black residents used the beach immediately west of the Southernmost Point because it was adjacent to their community and they were not allowed to use the “white” beach from Duval Street to Simonton Street. In the summer of 1942 shortly after the start of WWII, the Navy placed a chain link fence around the land so it could no longer be used by civilians. The black population’s only access to the ocean at that point became the foot of Whitehead Street until desegregation in the mid 1960’s. Black fisherman used the area to store boats and clean their catch, which would be strung on a line to be sold to locals and taken home. The shellfish-conchs-were also brought ashore, killed and cleaned. In the mid 1960’s one could still buy “a string of conchs” for only a couple of dollars. Conch shells became a desirable souvenir with the advent of the sight-seeing train in 1958. By the 1970’s Albert Kee and his father, “Yankee” Kee had become fixtures along the route blowing conch horns as the train came by.
Location: Corner of Whitehead Street and South Street
Hours: Always open