The home was purchased by infamous Prohibition Era rum-runner Raul Vasquez in 1920. During a rum running trip to Cuba Raul brought the elaborately carved balustrade home instead of his usual cargo. The rum and wine bottle balcony fretwork was actually a clever advertisement for â€œThe Florence Clubâ€, Raulâ€™s speakeasy behind the house. When Raul was away an honor system was in place and according to Raul â€œNo one stole a single bottle.â€
This park was part of a community of 40 cigar makersâ€™ cottages surrounding the Gato Cigar Factory. The structure at the rear of the property is a representation of the cottage that stood here in 1897. The cigar sculpture is believed to be the largest cigar of its type and is a monument to the men and women who made Key West the â€œcigar capital of the worldâ€ in the 1890â€™s.
Power first came to Keys West in 1887 when J.J Philbrick created the Key West Gas and Electric Light Company. A decade later, Curry and Sons started their own power plant. Eventually, these competing companies combined and were purchased by Stone and Webster in 1906. In 1943, the City acquired the company, creating City Electric System that provided power with diesel and steam generators and imported power from the mainland over a 150-mile tieline. City Electric System continues today as Keys Energy Services.
The home of Cuban emigre Arturo Fuente Sr. from 1906-1912. He apprenticed cigar rolling in the A.E. Baez factory and honed his skills at the E.H. Gato Cigar Factory. From humble beginnings in Cuba to freedom in Key West he was able to build successful cigar factories in Ybor City, Florida and the Dominican Republic. The Fuenteâ€™s are the largest cigar producing family in the world.
This 327 foot long, 6200 hp cutter held 300 men and partook in World War II, Vietnam, and the Korean War. The Ingham received a record 35 awards and was the most decorated vessel of its time. During its service on December 15, 1942, the Ingham engaged and sank German U-boat U-626. In 1980 the Ingham served as one of 1,700 ships that helped hundreds of Cuban immigrants reach the U.S. during the Mariel Boatlift.