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Monday, February 5, 2007

Life in the Slow Lane

Life in the Slow Lane

That's what life is for most of us fortunate enough to live in Key West year around. But for those Key Westers who really live on a lane, life is more slow and much more quiet.

I am speaking of course of the 104 named lanes in Old Town Key West. In 1980 a Conch named C.W. (Billy) Pinder prepared a history of Key West lanes for the City Commission which he subtitled "A Bit of History, A lot of Dimension". He recited the name and location of each lane and suggested in his forwarding Memorandum that "the Police, Fire, Sewer and our department has expressed interest in this booklet" inferring that a lot of people in responsible positions did not know where some of the lanes were located. And to no wonder the reason why: several lanes have more than one name.

Here are but a few of the lanes for your edification: Billygoat Lane is also known as Hibuiscus Lane and the entrance is located next to 512 Grinnell Street. Carey Lane is also known as Thompson Alley (not to be confused with Thompson Lane -- there are two of those) and is located on Margaret Street near the sexton's office to the Key West Cemetery. Du Pont Lane is a dead end off the 500 block of Petronia near Duval and is also known as Titanic Court. Then there is Goat Alley also known as Carson's Lane. Of course is located on the north side of the cemetery and is now referred to as Angela Street. One of my favorites has always been Graveyard AlleyGruntbone Alley (also now known as Peacon Lane). We have a Love Lane, Passover Lane, Poorhouse Lane, Whalton Lane (not to be confused with Whalton Street--but people still get confused!), Wong Song Alley , and the two Thompson Lanes--one in Bahama Village and the other a mile away near the new Strunk Ace Hardware on Eaton Street.

Key West lanes are very special places. Most are dead end streets that are but one lane wide. Some lanes actually go for two blocks and a couple of those connect to through streets on both ends. But most are just dead ends. And that's what makes them special. You see tourists usually can't find them, motor scooter riders go too fast to see them, Conch train and trolley car drivers drive past because they can't drive in. So life goes on in these little islands within the island that is Key West.

When I am working with customers looking to find a dream home in Key West I extol the virtues of lane life.

The house to the right is a new renovation on Carey Lane. There are three houses on this lane with almost identical original facades and construction. The houses on either side were enlarged and pools added earlier. And this last house was completed in 2005. Totally redone, top to bottom and includes a separate guest cottage and sparkling pool. It's a 3 block walk to Duval and a 3 block walk to the seaport. So close, so far away. So quiet at night, and during the day.

Life in the Slow Lane, ain't it a drag.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello my father lived on Carey Lane. He was the son to Mary Thompson Bazo and nephew to POPEYE. My family was taken advantage of by a piece of crap investor in the 90's. I would not plan on selling any of the homes cuz the Thompson/Bazo's will haunt the street until they are retunned to our family.....I wish you the best but these homes mainly 808, Carey Lane will not lay in rest of the wrong that was done for the sake of money....


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Gary Thomas in a Nutshell

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Key West, Florida, United States
I first read about Key West in a magazine called "After Dark" sometime in the mid 1970's. But it wasn't until March 1984 that I made my first visit to the island that would become my home. I had two weeks for a vacation and reserved a room at Colours Guesthouse (now Marrero's Guest House) for one week. I thought that if I didn't like Key West, I could always go back to Miami or Ft. Lauderdale for the rest of my trip. But after a couple of days in Key West, that was no longer a consideration. But when I wanted to extend my stay for the extra week I found there was no room at the inn. The guesthouse owner did find me a room at LaTeDa, the infamous guesthouse/restaurant. That's a story I'll write another day. But those two weeks in Key West gave me the realization that I had found Paradise. Key West has been my home since 1993 and my only regret is that it took me so long to get here. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties CRI. Let me help you find your new home or business in Paradise. Living in Paradise is not a slogan, it's a way of life.