The Key West Cemetery is a 19 acre treasure representing unique architecture, historic significance and a record of a resilient multi-cultural community. Each grave site has a story to be told. From the sailors of the USS Maine to the inscription of “I told you I was sick”. Many of the individuals and families that rest here have left legacies that still affect our lives today.
The cemetery needs your help. The effects of time, abandoned grave sites, storms, vandalism and tree roots have left much of our beloved cemetery in need of repair and restoration. This is not only a community place of respect for our ancestors but a location that thousands of tourists visit and photograph every year.
Help make a difference with your generous tax deductible donations to Historic Markers, Incorporated. Specify that donations are for restoration material purchases for the Historic Markers, Inc. cemetery restoration project. All donations will be kept in a separate bank account designated for cemetery restoration material only. HMI is a Florida State registered Non Profit corporation with a 501c3 status so your support will be a tax deductible donation.Look at our galleries: Cemetery Grave Site Cemetery Restoration Gallery
Historic Markers, Inc. is seeking $7,000 in donations to pay for building and restoration materials for the project. A majority of the material budget will be allotted to restoration of four grave shelters.
The grave shelter architecture you see throughout the cemetery is thought to be unique to the Key West cemetery. While many of the shelters are modest they are a proud testament of how individual families honored their ancestors. Most of the shelters were built in the 1940-60’s. They were built when the cemetery was scattered with fresh water wells and it was common to plant beds of flowers around the graves. They created shade for family members visiting the graves and were thought to shelter the grave sites from inclement weather and the heat of the sun.
The construction of the grave shelters is predominately wooden roofs covered with metal shingles and supported by metal columns. Some feature intricately carved fascia and a few are elaborate concrete structures. The effects of termites, water intrusion, storms and time have heavily damaged many structures and they are in danger of being torn down. Your generous donation will help restore these shelter structures and preserve an important part of our heritage.
The restoration project is a two phase effort. The first phase consists of restoring 50 damaged grave markers. Ten markers have been rebuilt or restored and plans are ongoing to tend to the remaining 40 markers.
The second phase of the project involves creating architectural restoration plans of four grave shelters. Based on the architectural recommendations, each shelter will be rebuilt and painted. Every effort will be given to match the original structure. Ten additional shelters will have their metal shingle roofs repaired and painted silver.