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Old City Hall

CIRCA 1892

Historic Marker number 84 is located at 510 Greene Street between Duval & Simonton Streets. There is no marker on this building. Refer to the large Florida State marker for additional information.In the 1830s the land that this building stands on was under salt water. There was a sizable sliver of salt ponds that ran through the center of what is now the business district. It submerged low lying land from the Historic Seaport and ended at Whitehead Street.The Havana Hurricane of 1846 closed the pond off from the Seaport and it became a stagnant body of water. Eventually the City filled the pond and brought the land up to its current level.The City of Key West acquired this lot in 1871 and built a wood frame city hall, dedicating it on July 4, 1876, during the nation's Centennial. That building stood until it burned down in the devastating fire of 1886.The City then constructed this brick edifice between 1890 and 1892 in an era when all building materials were transported from the mainland in sailing ships.Scott , McDermott & Higgs designed the structure, while Russell & Harvey built it. The ground floor, with wide arches and supporting columns, accommodated market stalls, and later, fire engines for the City's fire station.The upper floor, dominated by the City Commission chambers, also housed City offices. Over the years, the building was altered, including the removal of the bell tower. Monroe County acquired the property in 1965 to house its juvenile court. In 1974, the State of Florida acquired the building, and the Historic Florida Keys Preservation Board spearheaded its restoration. The bell tower was restored in 1976 during the Bicentennial. Restoration efforts continued through the 1980s, leading to the rededication of Old City Hall in 1991.Sweeping granite stairs and an ornate iron balustrade distinguish the buildings entrance, while high ceilings, large windows, and wainscoting grace the historic interior.