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Friday, April 28, 2017

Key West - What Has Been Seen Cannot Be Unseen

Do not take life too seriously – you will never get out of it alive. - Elbert Hubbard

The quote is funny and yes it is true.  The tragedy of the quote is that many people live in a pretend world where they do accept they will die.  Or maybe it is just that they prefer not to think about it or talk about it.  I guess it is sort of funny that some Key West vacationers take walking and trolley tours of so called haunted houses and often end up at the Key West Cemetery. They take photos of the graves and sometimes even post ghoulish photos of themselves or the tombstones on the Internet.  I, for one, have never been inside the Key West Cemetery. I'm not afraid. I just have had no reason to go there.  And as I understand it, there is no room for me there when I may need it.

I found the two photos below which show a funeral procession in 1934. Look carefully between the two monument pillars on either side of the gate and you can barely see 630 Elizabeth Street about which I have written many times. Funeral parades through the streets of Key West continue to this day.  The last parade I saw was several years ago. I was standing in front of our old city hall on a Saturday afternoon. A former colleague led the procession swinging a scepter as the mourners followed behind him. The paraded up Angela Street to the top of Solares Hill where Angela becomes Windsor Lane. The mourners slowly made their way down Windsor Lane to the iron gates at the cemetery. A small choral group of African American women dressed in bright white passed by singing. They were followed by a brass band that had had me clapping and crying at the same moment. It was an awesome experience to witness the funeral procession of someone whose name I did not know but who had so many loyal friends to take him to meet the Lord.
It seems like I am forever writing about houses that are located on or near the cemetery or one of our busier street like White, or Eaton, or Whitehead, or United, and even Southard.  Potential buyers normally shy away from all of those streets except Southard.  Those streets do experience a good amount of daytime traffic.  But traffic dissipates to a trickle after sunset when Conch Trains and Trolleys head to the barns, the delivery and service trucks stop for the night, and the office and sales people return home for the evening. When you really think about it, a huge number of our Old Town houses are located on one of these named streets or on streets that face, abut, or have view of the Key West Cemetery. And for some buyers, the location of a house with any cemetery view is an absolute no-no. For them, what has been seen cannot be unseen. 
Look at all the homes that border or are located within eyesight of the cemetery
I am reminded of the time I was showing homes to a middle aged couple looking for a quaint Key West cottage with a pool and parking. I told them about a particular house on Olivia Street which I had blogged about. I drove them to the house. The wife refused to look. I implored her just to look - to give the place a chance. Nay! She said. I told her about another customer of mine to whom I sold a big house a few years earlier. He ended up buying a house located one block past the cemetery even though he initially feared his daughters would be afraid to walk by the cemetery. He later told me cemetery did not phase them.  He said they love their house, their pool, and their ability to come to Key West to chill.  End of story.
Sometimes so of the very best deals in Key West are houses that are located on the busier daytime streets or that have views of the cemetery.  To buyers that want a deal, do not be afraid to look where some fear to look. If you are among the people who failed to buy when prices were really low and are now faced with prices that are sky high, consider looking where others fear the dead. 

Having the cemetery as a neighbor will mean quiet nights with no parties. Parking is never a problem. The area as a whole enjoys more sunshine and breezes as compared to more densely populated parts of Old Town. And you just may get a bargain in the process.  Oh, if you are looking to buy a place in Key West and if you are not working with a Realtor, call me, Gary Thomas. I am a buyers agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Key West.

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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.