West Martello Tower, Key West

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  • Secret Garden of West Martello Tower
    Secret Garden of West Martello Tower
    by TravellerMel
  • Secret Garden of West Martello Tower
    Secret Garden of West Martello Tower
    by TravellerMel
  • West Martello Tower - Home of KW Garden Club
    West Martello Tower - Home of KW Garden...
    by TravellerMel
  • TravellerMel's Profile Photo

    West Martello Tower - Home of KW Garden Club

    by TravellerMel Written May 3, 2012
    West Martello Tower
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    This was truly a "Secret Garden" serendipitous find! My husband was out bird watching, and passed this location at the beginning of Smathers Beach. The fact there was no admission charge got him in the door - the beauty he found inside got him to bring me there.

    The West Martello Tower is one of three remaining Civil War era structures in Key West (the other two being Fort Zachary Taylor and the East Martello Museum - home of Robert the Doll). It is now home to the Key West Garden Club. Inside there are lots of beautiful gardens and areas - views of the beach when you get to the top - and a self-sustaining rain garden. The variety of plants and flowers was incredible, and just so pretty.

    There is no admission charge to visit; however, if you enjoy your visit (and I'm sure you will) they will happily accept your donations in the wooden box just inside the entry door.

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  • tpangelinan's Profile Photo

    West Martello Tower (1845)

    by tpangelinan Updated Apr 4, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    White Strett & the ocean

    The Garden Club of Key West has preserved this Civil War Fort and National Historic Site. Open year-round, Tuesday thru Saturday, 9:30 AM to 3:15PM. A Non-Profit organization, they reley on donations.
    This was free (we liked it so much we gave a donation).
    One of the most tranquil, and beautiful spots in Key West!

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  • grandmaR's Profile Photo

    West Martello Tower

    by grandmaR Updated May 19, 2005

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    Arch surrounded by Strangler Fig
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    There are two Martello Towers East and West.

    The West Martello tower was built in 1862 on a site which historic research shows had been a burial ground for almost 300 African slaves. It was a part of the fortifications of Key West, which included Fort Taylor.

    It was never involved in an actual war, but in 1873, the Fort Taylor gunners were using it for target practice. They stopped in 1921 when Key West's first (and only) beachfront hotel (Casa Marina) was built just south of the tower. But the damage had been done - many of its Romanesque arches had fallen and the watchtower was leveled. Rubble, bricks and slate flooring littered the beach. It was an eyesore that the county wanted to demolish

    Today the Tower is operated by The Key West Garden Club, and hosts the Joe Allen Garden Center (small admission charge), offering self-guided tours to explore local flora and enjoy the tropical settings. Open Tues-Sat 9:30 to 3:15 - Donation requested

    When we lived there in the late 60s, they hosted a flower show in the winter. If you go at the time of the flower show they have some amazing flowers that you can see in addition to the stuff that's normally on display.

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  • grandmaR's Profile Photo

    Local Vegetation in 1967

    by grandmaR Updated May 19, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    My dad and children in 1967

    My mom and dad visited West Martello tower when we lived in Key West in the 60's, and I took a photo of them with this big cactus.

    The tower was in ruins when we were there because the gunners at Fort Taylor used to use it for target practice.

    Excerpts from a gardening magazine:

    "Then-County-Commissioner Allen, a Key West native,.. proceeded to sway the Powers That Be from leveling the martello..."

    “I started planting trees, Key limes of course,” said Rep. Allen..."

    "In 1955, Allen negotiated with the Key West Garden Club, and West Martello Tower became the club’s official home in 1959. It was named a Florida National Historic Site, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. "

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  • tpangelinan's Profile Photo

    Inside the Martello Garden Club

    by tpangelinan Written May 20, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Helen Levitt Memorial

    Looking out to the sea. This was top five on most beautiful spots in Key West. A winding garden path up to a gazebo (with shell gingerbread trim), overlooking the ocean. It was quiet, and peaceful. A fitting spot dedicated to the lady who worked so hard to preserve the fort and gardens.
    Photo: Michael Sullivan

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  • jelw's Profile Photo

    Key West Garden Club

    by jelw Written Dec 1, 2004

    3 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    martello garden club

    This attractive old fort has been turned into a garden club. This is open to the public at regular intervals.

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