My memory of Key West and the Florida Keys from my days stationed there in 1970 do not match the expensive, crowded Keys of today. I know I can't make time stand still, or go back to the "good old days", but I can relive them if only in pictures...
Key West 1970 from a picture postcard. Notice the Navy base in the foreground, with ships and subs docked at the very active main Naval Base. Today, cruise ships dock there and unload thousands of tourists.
The Navy Base front gate
Presidents Gates, Main Navy Base, located on Caroline Street at Key West Naval Station were opened only when a President visits the Station. Now they are open all the time to tourists.
The Casa Marina all closed down in 1970
National Airlines B-727 100 series on the ground at the Key West airport. National Airlines is gone, and these large planes don't land there anymore.
Pedal to the metal, gaining altitude on a short Key West runway. It is rumored that pilots have said the Key West airport sign is longer than the Key West runway (4,800 feet).
This program is from the smallest Greyhound track in the U.S., located on Stock Island, now since closed. Feature dog EKCO ELDER, who's effort around the track, in his last schooling race was 30.07 - 13 hundredths under the track record set back in 1963 by MANDARIN ANDY.
Roosevelt Blvd before all the hotels sprang up, palm trees and sea wall and open spaces.(credit: the Florida Collection)
One of the few hotels on Roosevelt Blvd was the Holiday Inn, and it is gone now. (credit: the Florida Collection)
The Naval Hospital. (credit: the Florida Collection)
Ariel view of the Navy Hospital
The old Conch train, been rolling around the island day in and day out. (credit: the Florida Collection)
Those traveling the four lane roads of Key West today have no idea what it was like to drive the narrow confines of the Old Hwy 1. Remember the "pucker factor" when you saw a big truck or bus heading your way on one of the bridges? This was the road and bridge leading into Boca Chica.
Remember the days of hand lettered signs
The Southern most hotel in the 70's and the site of our 2000 HAWK reunion. (credit: the Florida Collection)
More of the small hotels that crowded the south beach area in the 60s.
The southermost point, back then. Notice the big "marker" has not been built yet and all the conch shells for sale by the local vendors. Leaning up against the sign post is a sea turtle shell, try to sell one of them today and you will be in big trouble with the wildlife folks.(credit: the Florida Collection)
From 1967, doing business at the Southermost Point.
Conch shells for sale at Southermost Point
The entrance to the Navy base.
The Navy was a big part of Key West, now just a small presence can be seen. The USS Bushnell a sub tender shown berthed in Key West in the 60s.
The Bushnell tied up at the Key West Navy base.
The early aquarium has not changed much in appearance, just in admission price. (credit: the Florida Collection)
Now this is the way Key West was when I left in 1970. Quiet, little seaport town. Hippie town and military, a classic study in contrast, but the Key West I wish was still there. (credit: the Florida Collection)
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