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.
This wooden structure was built in the 1880s by a wealthy Charleston merchant. The private residence was well situated in what was then the center of town. In 1908, the owners transformed the house into a hotel in anticipation of the completion of the Over-Sea Railroad. The structure was enlarged and a third floor was added to increase room capacity. Notice the wooden silhouette of the railroad's unique bridge spans stretching across the top facade of the building. By 1912 the building opened as Island City House Hotel.