SPOTTSWOOD FAMILY

Early morning when I woke. Stayed in bed and watched the movie PT-109. The story of John Kennedy and a specific part of his World War II service in the Pacific as captain of a PT boat.

Brought to mind the Spottswood family. A distinguished group. The family part and parcel of Key West going back to the 1820’s.

Today’s generation consists of Jack, Bill, Fawni and Robert. I only know Robert and his wife Elena. I first met them when I purchased my home in Key West some 25 years ago. We became friends.

Good family all. Everyone respected.

Thrice the grandfather of today’s generation was Walter C. Maloney, Sr. He arrived in the 1820’s. He and every descendant who followed have been active publicly and privately in the life of Key West. The Spottswood family alone has probably accomplished more than any other family in Key West’s history.

PT-109 brought to mind the story of how the movie PT-109 came to be filmed in the Key West area

It was Cuban Missile time. President Kennedy had what is today Smathers and Higgs Beaches lined with artillery and missiles pointed at Cuba 90 miles away. Kennedy came to Key West to inspect the installation. His “tour guide” was John M. Kennedy, father to the four children comprising today’s generation.

The senior Spottswood and Kennedy  were friends before the inspection. Spottswood was a political figure of note. Kennedy spent much of his time here with Spottswood.

Harry Truman and Spottswood were friends. When Truman was no longer President, he and Bess were Spottswood’s house guests when visiting Key West.

The senior Spottswood was quite a man. His involvements speak for themselves: Sheriff, State Senator, personal friend to Harry Truman, close with President Kennedy.

Spottswood established the first radio station in Key West. He opened one of the first cable TV stations in the U.S. Headquartered the station in Key West, of course. He became owner of the Casa Marina Hotel and La Concha Hotel.

He and his children brought the Hyatt Vacation Club to Key West. The family was instrumental in the Beachside Marriot Hotel. The family continues to assist in the management of La Concha.

A public service more than a personal one involves the State Bank of Florida. Certain members of today’s generation were instrumental in getting the Bank started and continue as officers and/board members to this day.

Lets return to the senior Spottswood and Kennedy time together during Kennedy’s Cuban Missile Crisis visit.

Spottswood and Kennedy were together most of the time. Internet photos on the internet today show the two riding in the back of a convertible together.

Spottswood was aware Kennedy’s PT 109 experience was to be made into a film. The movie company was having difficulty selecting a suitable island for the filming. Spottswood suggested Little Munson Island which he owned. Munson was located just short of Big Pine, a five minute boat ride from U.S. 1 to the island.

Munson Island fit the bill. It was selected for the filming. The filming being the movie PT-109 I watched for the zenith time this morning.

Today, Little Munson Island has become Little Palm Island.

Another connection exists.

Kennedy was played in the movie by Cliff Robertson.

Some 15-20 years ago, the Mel Fisher Museum was conducting a national fund raising drive. Robertson was the Honorary National Chairman.

I met him when he returned to Key West for an event at the Mel Fisher Museum. I was fortunate to speak with him a few minutes.

He was older. Somewhere I would presume where I am age wise today.

It is not our conversation that sticks in my mind. It was his dress. Dapper!

Wore a blazer and khakis. His shirt open collared. Resting within the shirt, an ascot. For those too young to know, an ascot was a form of tie at one time. I even wore one on occasion.

Cliff Robertson enjoyed a second connection to Key West. The actual reason he was asked to serve as national honorary chairman. A movie was made of Mel Fisher’s life. Cliff Robertson played Mel Fisher.

Such the story of the Spottswood family, President Kennedy., Little Munson Island, Littler Palm Island, the many local successes and improvements to Key West over the years by the Spottswood family, and Cliff Robertson’s visits.

Yesterday my birthday. I celebrated by staying home. Elsa kept me in. Hopefully tonight I will be out and about.

My birthday brought to mind yesterday David Wolkowsky. We were friends.

He met certain of my birthdays by having a cake delivered to my home inscribed Happy Birthday Louis. Note I said “certain.” David was on in his years. He did not recall all. He would send me a cake one year. Skip the next two. Then send me cakes two years in row.

Loved the man!

Elsa came and went yesterday. Like an unwelcome visitor. In and out.

Elsa a yesterday thing. Not bad, but bad enough. Took about 10 hours to pass over Key West. Heavy rains. Winds averaging 40 mph, with gusts up to 60.

Key West closed down early morning. Reopened late afternoon after Elsa departed. The bars were immediately full.

Flooding, of course. Can expect nothing else when you live on an island most of which is at 0 sea level. The usual intersections/streets were flooded: Eaton and White, Duval and Front, Greene and Duval, and various portions of Flagler.

Terri White sings tonight from 5-8 at Marylin’s. Hopefully, I will make it

Enjoy your day!

11 comments on “SPOTTSWOOD FAMILY

    • My home country. Utica. 50 miles away. Did the races in August. The races and partying the best! Do not miss the snow. Thank you for being a loyal reader.

    • Lou is in Key West. He lives there and only goes away from there when someone takes him to dinner up islands, or when he needs real health care in Miami and sometimes when the wind blows too hard and he bugs out.

      • Steve, aka Wrong Side of the Bed Fred’s apprentice, missed the point.

        Why hasn’t Lou posted for the last 2 days.

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