Woe the web we weave when first we seek to deceive.

Includes extra-marital affairs.

The ruination of many marriages. Occasionally, the death of a spouse.

This morning’s Key West Citizen in its Keys History section made mention of the Hawkins/McRae duel February 9, 1829. The participants wounded. Neither died, however. Hawkins was upset because he saw McRae leaving his wife’s bedroom via the window.

Triggered my interest. Did a little research. The whole story follows.

Charles Hawkins was a Commodore in the Mexican Navy. William McRae, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida. Hawkins saw McRae jumping out of his wife’s bedroom window. He challenged McRae to a duel.

Duels back then were fought on Key West beaches. Four shots fired. Two each. Both men wounded, but not badly. Hawkins in the wrist, McRae in the thigh.

Hawkins not happy with the result. Wanted the ultimate vengeance. He ambushed McRae and shot him through the heart. McRae died.

Key West is rampant with ghosts and ghost stories. McRae is one of them. It is said his spirit frequently visits the spot where he was murdered. He continues to have a thing for the ladies. He presents himself to them. They scare, scream and run off.

My evening began with a stop at the Bottlecap. The monthly meeting of the Sons and Daughters of Italy. A fun group. Glad I joined.

Someone had made two large trays of lasagna. Delicious!

I sat at the bar with Maggie. A new member. Her first meeting last night. I suggested Maggie and her sister join when I met them at the bocce fundraiser.

Maggie’s sister in Colorado for two weeks.

Maggie and her sister have a place on Little Torch Key. Maggie a physician. Family Practice. Works six months in Alaska. Does not pratice when in the Keys. An occasional Colorado visitor.

A charming woman.

Then to the Chart Room. John bartending. I sat next to David. Kurt and Vicky at the other end of the bar. We met on their last trip to Key West.  They are from Colorado Springs. Kathy was lamenting how frizzy her hair was. She blames the humidity. I thought she looked absolutely beautiful.

On the other side of me sat Dan Schalk. Lives in Pompano. With PYI Inc. His company sells quality marine equipment. His sales route took him south to Key West. He returns to Pompano today.

We conversed quite a while. Schools and sports. He is a proud Wisconsin grad. Super Bowls. Etc.

A nice guy. Would enjoy running into him again.

Rules do not seem to apply to Trump. At least from his perspective. Now this Nordstrom thing re his daughter Ivanka.

Trump tweeted: “My daughter…..treated so unfairly by Nordstrom…..Terrible.”

One of his sons made a statement today against Nordstrom.

Trump and his family’s conduct wrong, wrong, wrong! Will they ever learn a President and his family give up certain things when one of them becomes President. No one is allowed to use the Presidency for personal gain.

Note that Ivanka’s husband sits in the West Wing as one of Trump’s advisers.

Read a recent article in Vanity by Tina Nguyen. She writes Sean Spier was a nice guy well liked in Washington. Till he took his position of Press Secretary with Trump.

He has become Trump’s attack dog. He handles the press meetings as a “…..Hyde-esque Trump stalwart, his force contorted between anger and shell-shock.”

A news comment this morning indicates Trump wants to replace him. Not tough enough.

A major historical event. On this day in 1964, the Beatles were introduced to the United States for the first time. They appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show. The audience was mass hysteria. Teen age girls gone crazy.

I recall the evening distinctly. When you have lived as long as I, your mere existence at the time makes you a part of the historical event. I was 29 years old. Father of four. We had just purchased our first home.

Enjoy your day!




How would you like to be 96 years old, look around your home town and say…..I am responsible for all this!

Only one person. David Wolkowsky. Without him, the Key West of today would not have been.

He is the father of modern Key West.

Mentioned merely at this point to show a part of David’s contribution. The Pier House and Jimmy Buffett.

David was born in Key West. A for real Conch. His grandfather Albert Wolkowsky settled in Key West in the late 1800s. Opened a fine clothing store on Duval Street.

David grew up in Key West and Miami. Attended the University of Pennsylvania Remained in Philadelphia after graduation. He began restoring buildings. He is credited with the rejuvenation of Society Hill and Rittenhouse Square.

His successful efforts in Philadelphia made him a millionaire.

David returned to Key West in the early 1960s following the death of his father Issac Wolkowsky He was 40 at the time. Already financially secure.

David was not one to sit still. He was driven. He had to be busy.

The Wolkowsky family owned several properties in old town. He renovated them.

The original Sloppy Joe’s on Greene Street had been condemned. He bought the building and restored it. Today known as Captain Tony’s.

He developed property on Duval and Front Streets. The properties included Pirate’s Alley and the Original Cigar Factory.

Key West in the early 1960s was nowhere like it is today. Not even close. The island was neither Paradise nor a paradise setting.

David was a man of vision. He saw where others did/could not.

The gulf end of Duval Street a mess. Dirty and sloppy. No beach in sight.

David saw possibilities for the area. He purchased the old Cuban Ferry Dock for $106,000. A steal.

The Porterhouse Steamship office was located on the property. He removed it from its foundation and transported it 300 feet. Set the building on pilings in 40 feet of water. Turned it into Tony’s Fish Market. A cocktail lounge and restaurant. A successful undertaking. Guests able to watch shrimp boats moving along on the water.

David wanted to transform Key West into a funky tourist destination. Unconventional, he sought the offbeat.

In 1967, David began construction on a 50 room motel. It was constructed around Tony’s Fish Market. When the 50 rooms were completed, he quickly added 50 more. These facing the ocean. Demand was that good.

David called the motel the Pier House Resort Motel. From which today’s Pier House grew.

The motel had a bar called the Chart Room. Still there today. Never renovated since constructed. People drink and raise hell in the same atmosphere as when built.

David sold the Pier House in the late 1970s.

Jimmy Buffett came to town in 1971. Knew very few people. Buffett an unknown. Best described, he was a young man with a guitar who enjoyed his cocktails. His last stop prior to Key West was Austin, Texas. The Austin Buffett sat on his front porch drinking and singing tunes he had composed.

One of his Austin hangouts was Lung’s Cocina del Sar. A bar. Where Buffett met up with Margaritas. The beginning of his search for a casual new place with a who cares attitude. A tropical climate was required. A beach resort place.

Buffet and David met. David was taken by him. Permitted Buffett to play in the Chart Room for tips. Later, for pay. Buffett says David was the first to pay him.

The relationship continues to today. The two close friends and occasional business partners.

Buffett was searching for his Shangrila when first he came to Key West. He called it Margaritaville. He found it in Key West.

Bob Marley also got his start via David at the Pier House Motel.

The Pier House became a magnate for celebrities. David’s personality attracted them.

One was Truman Capote. He came to Key West to spend the winter. At David’s Pier House Motel.

David was living next to the Pier House in a 45 foot 2 bedroom trailer. Ten feet from the water. While having a drink with David in his luxurious trailer, Capote said he wanted to rent the trailer. David acquiesced after some back and forth banter. David moved to a suite in the Motel. Capote into the trailer.

During his three month stay, Capote wrote Answered Prayers.

Capote described the Pier House as “elegant inefficiency.”

The Pier House motel was the beginning of the new Key West. David is credited with putting Key West on the road to becoming a major tourist destination.

Along the way, David built the Reach Resort on the Atlantic side of Key West.

David kept a low profile. He possessed a sly humor. Drove around Key West in a golf cart or his his beloved 1926 Rolls Royce. Generally seen in a Panama hat. Several pair of sunglasses on the hat, some hanging from his neck.

David also did what only David could do. He built a house on an uninhabited private island 8 miles off Key West. Built it while building the Pier House. The island called Ballast Key.

David the visionary is exhibited in the construction of the house on Ballast Key.

There was a speakeasy on stilts which also marked the entrance to the North West Channel in Key West. It had burned down. David collected drawings and photographs of the speakeasy. He wanted his Ballast Key home to look precisely like the speakeasy.

He accomplished his aim.

David had a love for Key West history. What to name his Ballast Key home? Easy. Hemingway House.

The story is David fed his guests at Ballast Key hot dogs, wine and potato chips. The laborers working on the house, chocolate pudding and souffles from the Pier House kitchen. Transported on David’s private barge.

David was known worldwide. Many came to visit David and Key West. Better stated, they came to enjoy time with David while seeing Key West. David the attraction.

David entertained at Ballast Key. Major figures. Most if not all his friends. The likes of Truman Capote, Tennessee Williams, British Prime Minister Edward Heath, Prince Michael of Greece, Gloria Estefan, Rudolph Nureyev and the Bee Gees. Last but not least, the Rockefellers, Vanderbilts, and Mellons.

Again, all were fed hot dogs, wine and potato chips.

A  Kress Five and Dime was located on Duval Street. David and a small number of friends bought the building. Three stories. David had a penthouse apartment constructed for himself on the third floor. The Parole Board was on the second floor. Kress, the first. The Kress portion later became Fast Buck Freddie’s.

David’s fame brought him some not unpleasant notoriety.

The novel License To Kill has 007 calling David to say, “David, it’s James Bond…I’ve broken into your island. I hope you don’t mind.”

Town & Country magazine carried a Man Of The Month section. In 1955, David was the March Man of the Month. Cary Grant the April Man of the Month.

Grant was in good company.

David worked diligently to preserve the best of old Key West. He is primarily responsible for the lack of high rises. He worked vigorously to prevent high rise buildings.

Charity wise, David was a giver. A concerned individual. Teachers an example. In 2000, he set up a Teacher Merit Awards Fund. Each year, $25,000 is given to 1 teacher and $5,000 each to nine. Recognition of the outstanding teachers of the given year. David was of the opinion that teachers had to be nurtured and protected.

David Wolkowsky. A legend in his own time. Owed so much. Asked nothing in return. His goal to create a better Key West. He did. His stamp on everything.


Key West is presently battling whether to have garbage pick ups once or twice a week. There was a time when the number of times for anything was generous.

This morning’s Key West Citizen in its History Section notes that on this day in 1901, the Post Office began making deliveries three times a day. Early morning, mid day and late afternoon.

How things change!

Love Rick Boettger. He calls them as he sees ’em. In an article in E-Blast this morning titled The Big Story / Crash or Burn, he indicates how difficult it is to do business in Key West. A tough town to get a business started. Even tougher to stay in business.

Rick had a statement I would like to share…..Key West is a place to spend money you made somewhere else.

How true!

Starbuck’s on the Boulevard finally underway. Checkers building being demolished. I look forward to the new Starbuck’s. I love to sit inside, sip coffee, and read. The new Starbuck’s will provide that convenience.

The Citizen this morning also noted that Key West will receive its share of the BP settlement. $2.7 million. Allegedly for economic damages suffered during the spill. The oil never reached Key West. For business loss during that period because people were afraid to visit. They thought the oil would reach Key West beaches.

The $2.7 million even more interesting since earlier paper work by the City indicated Key West had only lost $630,00.

BP settlements of this nature are a rip off! I can’t fault the City for taking the money. However, it should never have been available. At some distant point following the spill, by law or regulation, rules came down permitting the type of losses to be compensated out of a pool of money made available for such purpose. The law/regs were broadly drawn. Did incorporate losses as the City was paid for.

Such does not make the payment right. Either to Key West or anyone else. Even saying BP has a lot of money does not make it correct.

Dinner at Roostica last night before my blog talk radio show. Met a new waitress. Olga. A nice lady.

Did my blog talk radio show later in the evening. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Three topics hit. How the U.S. as a society has lost its way, a Greece update suggesting watch out for the Neo-Nazi party, and my thoughts re the Iranian agreement. All interesting! Controversial in some respects.

Anna. Greece. Anna still on Santorini. Santorini continues to be packed with tourists. This week Chinese, Japanese and English. Spending money like crazy. Everything very expensive.

She wanted to spend time on my favorite island, Amorgos. Not going. Could not get a room. Amazing! Plus, all ATM machines are bare. No cash money available on Amorgos.

The show goes on! The Greece/Eurounion conflict not concluded. The next few days will reveal much. Parliament votes today whether to accept the offer. The unions are supposedly on a 24 hour strike today. No one working. Athens shut down if the called for strike successful.

Various media sources suggest Merkel may have hurt herself big time. She exercised raw “naked power.” Germany may win today. However the Greeks and other European nations will remember Greece’s treatment. What goes around, comes around. Germany some day will stand with hat in hand. Germany’s treatment at that time may be as harsh as Greece’s this time.

Enjoy your day!