Welcome to the oldest Roman Catholic Parish in South Florida. There is evidence that Spanish Jesuits serving in Cuba attempted to establish a mission in Key West as early as 1724. The first Catholic Church on the island was dedicated February 26, 1852. It was destroyed by a fire in 1901. The current church building was dedicated to Saint Mary Star of the Sea by the Bishop of St. Augustine in August of 1905.
Built for U.S. Army officers, these buildings are a good example of turn of the century military housing. Once part of the Peary Court Army Garrison, they were moved here in the 1940's. North Beach Road connected Peary Court to Truman Avenue. This area was prime waterfront property facing Garrison Bight. As the island expanded the beach side of the street was land locked by development. The road was renamed in honor President Eisenhower.
Three historic buildings were converted in 1976 to create the resort you see today. Two of the buildings contained apartments for military families living â€œoff baseâ€. The buildings may have been moved across the street from the Key West Army barracks to make room for expansion. The third structure was built as a small cigar factory and was later used as a launderette. The conversion was at the forefront of the new tourism economy that emerged in the 1970s.
The history of ship wreck salvage is closely tied to the Old Custom House. Ever since man began sailing the open seas there have been shipwrecks. With 200 miles of natural reefs and shoals traversing the Florida Keys it's no place to make a navigational error. Over the centuries, scores of ships have lost their way or were blown onto the reefs by unforeseen storms and hurricanes.
The structure started out as a grocery and butcher shop as well as a residence. It was purchased in 1913 by Dr. William Richard Warren. Dr. Warren's medical offices consisted of the front porch that served as a waiting room and the first floor rooms that were used for exams and minor surgeries. An unusual three-story fresh water cistern is original to the structure. The property is home to one of the island's first ornamental gardens.