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Key West's Grinnell Street PDF Print E-mail
Written by Larry Grinnell   
Sunday, 11 March 2012 22:37

Grinnell and Angel Streets, Key West, FL, next to an old cemetery

Our next Grinnell Street sign is in Key West, FL. In this case, it appropriately intersects with Angel Street at an old cemetery. It may be hard to see here, but the plots are above ground, just like those in New Orleans, LA, due to the very high water table. It's almost impossible to get a six foot deep dry hole, hence the above ground cemetery plots.

Thanks to Karolyn Wrightson, a Westchester County (NY) historian, for the great pictures. She reported that after some research, she found that this Grinnell Street was named for Irving (maybe Irvington) Grinnell, son of famed Grinnell ancestor Moses Hicks Grinnell, a former congressman, financier, and co-owner of a successful shipping concern. As I heard the story, Grinnell purchased property in Key West for homes for seamen when the fleet was kept in the south during the winter when the New York and New Bedford harbors were often frozen over. It was also the place where a number of ship captains lived out their retirement years.

House on Grinnell St., Key West, FLBuilt of sturdy Dade County Pine (now virtually extinct), quite similar in makeup to Heart Pine, these homes built in the mid to late 1800s have withstood countless hurricanes with little to no damage. Equally impressive is the hardness of the wood. So hard that termites find it impossible to bore through it, so they move elsewhere. The explosive growth in South Florida resulted. by the 1940s, in the near extinction of this species of pine, due to overharvesting. Today, any Dade County Pine used for building most likely came from an old "cracker" home that was demolished in order to replace it with a mini-mansion (some call them McMansions).

Last Updated on Thursday, 26 April 2012 23:29