A hurricane in 1846 swept through the original beachside Key West Cemetery, leaving a gruesome scene in its aftermath. It was relocated to the highest elevation in town. Because of this, some gravestones are older than the cemetery itself.
It lies in the heart of Old Town, on 19 acres. You can walk, cruise through on a bike, or even take a guided tour.
The salty air and hot sun has taken its toll. The gravestones and above-ground crypts are bleached, cracked, and crumbling, leaving enough room for iguanas to creep in and out. Stephen King could work with this.
Even the Royal Poincianas feel macabre inside the cemetery gates.
There are plenty of things to lighten the mood, including Sir Peter Anderson’s giant conch headstone decorated with pinwheels.
The Key West Cemetery is a pleasant diversion from the tourists and t-shirt shops of Duval Street. It’s beautiful, quirky, and bizarre like the rest of Key West, only quieter.