Today in Keys History Feb. 18

Diary author May Johnson, center, with friends in 1897.

1856: William Hackley recorded in his diary: Rose at 5:15 and walked on the beach. At 8 a.m. barometer 29.55, thermometer 69.5, wind north northeast 3, clouds 2. Read Law Register and Harper’s magazine. P.m. read Household Words and walked to South Beach by Porter’s Spring. Had a fire in the stove after night.

1897: May Johnson recorded in her diary: I arose 7 o’clock, dressed, had breakfast, went to school, came home, had dinner, went for music, came home, dressed, went to Moffat’s, then to Corinne’s, spent the evening here, Earle also, went to Rigell’s, had soda, went back, waited until Mr. Fritot brought my mail, took carriage, came home, no letter from my darling. (This is the last entry in May Johnson’s dairy.)

1924: The local order of the Ku Klux Klan put on a big demonstration with a parade and naturalization ceremony at Bayview Park.

1929: A post office opened at Perky on Sugarloaf Key. There had been a post office at the settlement then called Chase but it had closed 12 years before.

1939: President Franklin Roosevelt arrived in Key West at 3 p.m. after driving the Over-Seas Highway from Miami. He was met at West Summerland Key by Key West Mayor Willard Albury, who rode to the city with him. The president inspect the inactive Naval Station facilities and then boarded the USS Houston, which then sailed for the Caribbean to take part in war games in progress.

1984: Ground was broken for a new gym at Horace O’Bryant Middle School. The gym was named for the late Enoch “Johnny” Walker, the former chairman of the Monroe County School Board.

1999: The new Mariners Hospital on Tavernier opened as patients were transferred from the old building.

1999: Howard S. England died at 85. He spent many years — first as a volunteer — as a Florida State Park Ranger at Fort Taylor. Howard’s many years of work were instrumental in saving of Fort Taylor and creation of the Fort Taylor State Park.

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