WRIGHT LANGLEY

Periodically, readers suggest material they believe I might find interesting. They are generally correct.

Diana Millikan provided me with the History of the Rotary Club of Key West 1915-1975. On the surface, sounded bland and boring. It was not.

I discovered interesting names, tidbits, etc. A little research and I came upon stories to be told. Local color items.

I have decided to use the History of the Rotary Club of Key West 1915-1975 as a road map. I will deviate from the History as required. Boring will not be discussed.

This will be an installment piece. Exact number, I am not sure. I will write till there is no more to write.

Today’s introductory piece concerns the author of the History, Wright Langley. A photographer, newsman, historian, and publisher. He left his imprint on Key West.

Langley’s life spanned 1935-2000. Born in Tarborough, North Carolina and raised in Four Oaks, North Carolina.

He found his way to Key West through marriage. In 1958, Langley and Joan Knowles were married. Joan a fourth generation Conch.

Joan gives her father credit for convincing Langley to settle in Key West. “My father took him lobster fishing. After that, he couldn’t wait to move here.”

Langley had earlier received one of the Rochester Institute of Technology’s first bachelor degrees in photography. Several years later, a Masters of Science in Journalism from Boston University. His thesis concerned photography.

Nineteen sixty found Langley interested in telling turtle fishing’s story via photos. Turtle fishing a major Key West industry at the time. He lived and worked on the turtle fishing boat A. M. Adams out of Key West. The trip took him through the Cayman Islands, Honduras, and Nicaragua.

He became a reporter and photographer for the Key West Citizen in 1965. Three years later, he went to work for the Miami Herald as Key West Bureau Chief.

Nineteen seventy-seven found Langley in a new position. One where he had the opportunity to do much good for his adopted community. He became Director of the Historic Florida Keys Preservation Board. A position he held till 1993.

Langley collected photos from all eras of Keys. Where the camera was in use, of course. He also photographed anything and everything during those years.

During the same years, he became a community leader. Respected and admired. Loved. Langley spearheaded amongst other things the restoration of the San Carlos Institute, the Armory, the Bat Tower, and the old City Hall.

In 1982, Langley started a publishing business. Not so much for money. Rather to assist Key West’s many writers who otherwise might not have been published.

He co-authored several books. Some with his wife Joan. Three of the co-authored books were Key West-Images of the Past, Key West and the Spanish American War, and Yesterday’s Asheville.

Wright Langley. A newsman who became an historian. A man who preserved Key West history. He came, he saw, he photographed, he collected, and left behind a treasure trove of history.

Big trees from little acorns grow. I am as curious as you to see how the installments based on Langley’s Key West Rotary history work out.

My yesterday was uneventful. Did nothing all day, but read and watch TV.

Dinner last night at Tavern ‘n Town. Bobby Nesbitt time. Sat with Dick and Susan Buckheim. The Buckheims seem to have dinner the same evenings I do at Tavern ‘n Town. Last night was the first time we actually talked.

I remember Dick from the Key West Yacht Club. He would lunch at the bar as I did.

Dick has an interesting Key West background. He owned and operated Bagatelle’s for 17 years.

I started watching the Cleveland/Chicago game at the bar after dinner. Only a handful of us. Bobby Nesbitt was watching from the piano. Three others watching. Left after a few innings to finish watching at home from my bed.

Chicago has a lot of work ahead. Going to be interesting to see if they can catch up and win.

Enjoy your Sunday!

4 comments on “WRIGHT LANGLEY

  1. Louis, your first Rotary person write up was very interesting. I would like to know what kind of cameras Langley used for all of his great photographs. Now how will we find out?

  2. Louis, yes, the library historian would most likely know about Langley’s cameras. I just thought that some of your blog readers might like to comment. I bother the library historian about so many matters that I need to give him a rest from time to time. haha.

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