Welcome to Key West if it's your first time, but more than likely we are welcoming you back!
All of our events this year will feature a bit of history about our food culture at historical places with local artists that make Key West truly magical.
Hosted by The Oldest House Museum
A National Treasure is Florida's most important artist with artwork in the Smithsonian, Whitney and MOMA.
See Mario's wood carving at The Oldest House Museum
BUILT IN 1829
The Oldest House in South Florida
Conch Houses of Key West and the Florida Keys
What is a conch house? Early settlers of the Bahamas and Florida Keys built their homes of a morter made from sand, water, and lime. The settlers obtained their lime by burning conch shells. Having no building stones or bricks, but an abundance of conch shells the settlers often utilized the shell itself in constructing their houses. Thus the term "conch" house had its beginning. Later, wooden homes built by settlers and ship's carpenters utilizing a blend of architectural styles took on the name of conch houses.
Writer Slyvia Sunshine in her book Petals Plucked from Sunny Climes in describing them said in 1880,
"The architectural style of these buildings is adapted only to the necessities of a tropical clime - a shelter from the heat and rain. They have no chimneys, consequently no bright, cheerful firesides, with their fanciful shapes described in the curling smoke, leaping flames, or expiring coals, about which poets love to write and dream."
The classic Conch Houses of Key West and the Florida Keys exhibit multicultural roots inherited from the Bahamas, New England, and Africa. Hand-crafted of wood and constructed by seafaring carpenters, conch house architecture utilizes Gulf Coast building forms, the well proportioned architecture of the New England seacoast, and tropical adaptations of housing from the Caribbean.
A close look at a classic Conch House reveals an energy-efficient, and sensible design for living in the tropics:
Any number of restored conch houses can be viewed today in a tour of Key West. An easy way to learn more about conch architecture and Key West in general is to take the popular Conch Train Tour which begins close by Mallory Square on Front Street.