Even today, I am surprised how I can just “happen” upon something pretty cool in Key West. The island isn’t that big and you would think there isn’t much to discover after many, many trips. But, once again, I am wrong. The Key West Historic Memorial Sculpture Garden is my latest discovery. Located right next to El Meson de Pepe and on your way to Mallory Square, this Sculpture Garden is pretty interesting.
The Sculpture Garden opened in September 1997 and was set aside by the Key West City Commission to honor those men and women who had the greatest impact on Key West. Think about that. They were able to find 36 men and woman who impacted the history of Key West. Does your city honor those who helped to create it? I can tell you my hometown does not.
The garden is located on the original shoreline. Keep in mind the shoreline has been revamped and moved, but this was the original. The garden was also funded, almost entirely, by the generous donations of private folks who bought the bricks that line the garden. Everyone wanted to be part of this project.
The 36 cast bronze busts in the garden are so lifelike. You can see them almost smiling as you walk through the garden. Take the time to read about these folks. Some of their names will look familiar, such as Harry S. Truman and Henry M. Flagler. Others may not. But, these were chosen to have had the most impact on Key West. Interesting enough, there is room for others to be added… wonder who the next generation may pick?
James Mastin is the master sculptor. He is a sculptor, a painter, a water colorist, singer and an actor. He was also commissioned to create the Loyalist memorial sculpture garden in Key West’s sister city, Green Turtle Cay, Bahamas.
Again, sculpted by James Mastin, this piece is 18 feet long and 25 feet high. The early wreckers are captured engaging in their work of saving lives and cargo in the seas.
The Garden is open from 7:30am to 9pm everyday. The admission is … free. Just walk through the gate and explore this unique place that honors those that came before.