GIBRALTAR OF THE SOUTH

There was a time and a man who viewed Key West as the Gibraltar of the South. It was the mid 1930s. The man, Julius Stone.

The 1930s was depression time across the United States. Key West especially hard hit. It was the end of the world. Hard to get to. Little business. No work. Monroe County had filed for bankruptcy.

Julius Stone was the WPA administrator for the State of Florida. He considered things so bad in Key West, that he opened a WPA office there. Only the second in the State.

Stone saw tourism as the way for Key West to improve its economy. He was a precursor. He saw what men like David Wolkowsky would envision in later years.

One of his efforts to improve quality of life in Key West was to have a play locally produced. The Pirates of Penzance.

The historical goodies I share with you I did not find. Credit belongs to snowbird Diana Millikan. Diana is writing a play about Julius Stone and The Pirates of Penzance endeavor. She keeps me informed.

Diana has discovered a rich source of information. The Kennedy Cafe mornings. Elderly conchs meet every morning for coffee and talk. A breakfast club of sorts.

Diana says it is like pulling teeth to get information out of them. She is succeeding, however. A step at a time.

She met Jesse. A woman in her 90s. Her married name she was not able to get. However, her maiden name was forthcoming. Watkins.

Jesse was in attendance at the play on February 19, 1935. She recalled the event vividly. She said George Wills was the leading man. Handsome.

She attended the play with her two older sisters. Diana reported one of the sisters became President of a local bank. Sounds strange for the times. It might have been the woman’s husband.

The write up in the newspaper the next day listed a Mrs. Joseph Cates as seamstress. Diana is trying to find out if the 1935 Cates is a relative of today’s Mayor Cates.

Burt Lancaster was one of America’s great actors. He died at 80 this date in 1994. Lancaster and Key West touched two times.

Lancaster’s first movie was The Killers. The movie was based on Ernest Hemingway’s short story of the same name.

He actually filmed a movie in Key West. The Rose Tattoo. The movie was based on Tennessee William’s play of the same name. The movie was filmed in a house on Duncan Street. Williams lived on one corner of the block and The Rose Tattoo house was on the other.

The Cannonball Run is coming through Key West saturday. Will be on Duval and Front Streets around 3.

The Cannonball is composed of a group of men who own special cars. They like to drive them on strange roads in strange places. Duval not one of those places. However Key West not the destination. The group is headed for Havana, Cuba.

I have a neighbor down the street who participates. He is on in years. The Run is one of the more important events in his live. He has a 1906 or 1914 Rolls Royce. In tip top shape. When last I spoke with him, he had just returned from a run in New Zealand. The cars at some point are shipped to the final destination.

Screwworms on the move. No longer just on Big Pine and No Name Key. Have expanded into Big Torch Key, Middle Torch Key, Little Torch Key, Cudjoe, Ramrod and Summerland Keys. Flies have been found in each place.

The last time there was a screwworm infestation was 30 years ago. Things have become sufficiently bad that the State of Florida has declared a State of Emergency exists.

Tammy for a manicure/pedicure yesterday. Ran into Kate Miano who was getting a pedicure.

Kate is one of Key West’s most dynamic women. Owner of The Gardens. Note that Sunday at the Gardens has opened. Sundays from 5-7. Great music. Good drinks. Excellent company. Mostly locals.

The Judy Wood memorial celebration this evening from 5-7 at Tavern ‘n Town. Sad. Her death continues to bother me. And I did not know her well. Only from the bar.

Afterwards, I shall be off to bocce to watch Don’s Place play. Numero Uno!

Goombay tomorrow night!

The third and final Presidential debate was last night. Trump consistent. An ass. Hillary handled herself well.

Enjoy your day!

 

9 comments on “GIBRALTAR OF THE SOUTH

  1. Hillary handled herself well. Really. Every time she lies and comes up with her trademark ax-murderer smile I suppose a liberal wearing blinders on their rose colored glasses could think that.

    But, it was the best debate of the bunch due to the moderation from a good professional Fox employee.

  2. “The third and final Presidential debate was last night. Trump consistent. An ass.”

    Trump is actually worse as his insistence he will not honor the outcome of a democratic election has undermined faith in our entire system. And not for legitimate reasons but because he can’t lose, he must win HUGE. A very dangerous and unprecedented position. Even Al Gore who won the popular vote accepted the obviously partisan SCOTUS ruling on the Florida chads.

    This is a very dangerous time for our republic and the masses had best wake-up. The sad part about last night is that I would like to have actually heard debates about tax policies and such rather than the incessant attacks on each other. It was more like professional wrestling than a scholarly debate on issues and policies.

  3. Anonymous on October 21, 2016 at 4:27 am said:
    Nothing scholarly about trump, and I presume Patrick as well.
    end quote

    I have sheepskins from 2 universities and take your statement as a compliment.

  4. And, Dumb to align yourself with trump. Only uneducated (dumb) middle Americans are behind him at this point. He is a danger to America as a conservative nominee. Look forward to Nov 9th and seeing him pout kick and cry.

  5. Its the non-scholarly portion I take as a compliment. My best education came from the school of hard knocks.

    I don’t align myself with Trump, he is nothing more than the lessor of 2 evils and any vote for the 3rd or 4th candidate is a waste.. HRC belongs in the big house not the White House.

  6. Louis, thank you for blogging about my activities about Key West – the play, the operetta, the elderly Conchs at their Breakfast Club. I hope that Mayor Cates replies to my email and FB messages about my wanting the first event at the new amphitheater to be Pirates of Penzance bc of its KW historical connection. If any of your readers has a photo of the Feb 1935 operetta down at the end of Southern on that full moon Feb 1935 night or the Battery Dilworth itself, please let me know via your blog. Thanks again, Louis.

  7. Patrick – Agree with you on the “school of hard knocks”.

    Hillary WOULD be in jail if she did anything illegal! Did she make some questionable choices? Sure.
    But if we want to talk about questionable choices your Donny boy would be on top of the list!!!

    The larger question is how he dodged the tax codes (or his inability it be a successful businessman on major level). It should be law to disclose all taxes before election. You don’t know what’s he’s hiding. How can you (of all ppl) stand behind him without all the research needed to vet his business dealings or misdealings?

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