The Key West Cemetery captures the essence of the city itself – humorous, irreverent and just a bit whimsical. I wanted to take a free guided tour, offered Tuesday and Thursday, but it was low season and I was told a tour guide wasn’t available. So, my guesthouse printed a self-guided tour and cemetery map and I set out to explore the cemetery on my bike. It turned out to be fascinating, with interesting bits of history, unique tombstones of the common and famous, plus some eye-catching epitaphs. Because it’s so close to sea level, much of it is above ground.
There is a monument to the U.S.S. Maine, blown up in Havana Harbor killing 260 American sailors, 20 of whom are buried here. You’ll also find the grave of “General” Abe Sawyer, Key West’s famous 40 inch midget who requested burial in the grave of a full size man. And it’s the final resting place of Manuel Cabeza. He enraged the KKK by having a relationship with a mulatto woman, so they tarred and feathered him. In retaliation, he shot and killed one of his persecutors in the middle of Duval St. on Christmas Eve. The next day he was pulled from the jail and lynched. Many of Key West’s movers and shakers are laid to rest here, too.
My favorite epitaphs include, “I told you I was sick,” “I’m just resting my eyes,” and “Devoted Fan of Singer Julio Iglesias.”
Go, explore and have fun.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.