Today in Keys History April 8

Ernest Hemingway, pictured on Pilar, arrived in Key West in 1928.

1856: William Hackley recorded in his diary: Rose at 4:30 and walked to the Salt Ponds, returned home and bathed. At 8 a.m. barometer 29.49.5, thermometer 73.5, wind west 1, clouds 2. Wrote to H.E. Hooker Esq. Secretary of the New York Western Fruit Growing Society for a copy of the proceeding of their last meeting enclosing 10 post office stamps, to G. Routledge 18 Beckkman St., New York for Stonnehenge and Poultry Yard and Fish and Fishing and the Highlands of Scotland and to Otis C. Clapp Rochester for Homeopathic books enclosing $1.00 in gold and enclosing to G. Rottledge $2.50 in gold. Read papers. P.m. Commenced reading Chapman’s Principe.

1898: Chief Gunner’s Mate Oscar Johnson, a 31-year-old native of Sweden, was asphyxiated while in a diving suit examining the hull of the USS Newport. He was buried in the Battleship Maine Plot in the Key West City Cemetery.

1928: Pauline and Ernest Hemingway arrived in Key West for the first time on the Peninsular & Occidental steamship from Havana.

1945: Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin W. Demeritt received word from the War Department that their son Ray E., who had been reported missing 10 months before when he bailed out of his plane over France, had died of his wounds.

1949: The Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson and the Joint Chiefs of Staff met at the Little White House. Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, was in Key West recovering from a serious illness and so the Chiefs and their deputies flew to Key West for the meeting. The Chiefs and Secretary met for three days.

1980: Approximately 500 members of the Key West Cuban community joined an automobile caravan at the White Street Pier to show support to the Cubans who had taken refuge in the Peruvian embassy in Havana. They made donations and sent a truck with non-perishable food to Miami to aid the refugees.

1988: The City Commission, sitting as Board of Adjustment, approved plans to rebuild the Cuban Club at 1102 and 1108 Duval St. The original building was destroyed by fire.