Power first came to Keys West in 1887 when J.J Philbrick created the Key West Gas and Electric Light Company. A decade later, Curry and Sons started their own power plant. Eventually, these competing companies combined and were purchased by Stone and Webster in 1906. In 1943, the City acquired the company, creating City Electric System that provided power with diesel and steam generators and imported power from the mainland over a 150-mile tieline. City Electric System continues today as Keys Energy Services.
Built of heart pine by shipbuilder and merchant Samuel Filer. In 1920, the structure was moved back forty feet to its present location. The double parlor features wall murals painted in 1925. The house has been sold only once, in 1920, to the Freeman-Curry family. During the last century, the family became best known as political leaders with six members elected to local, county and state positions. The Monroe County Court House is named the Freeman Justice Center in their honor.
At 2:00 a.m. on April 1, 1886 Key Westâ€™s most devastating fire was ignited very symbolically next to the San Carlos Institute, our focal point of Cuban society. The fire decimated the downtown area, burning down 16 major cigar factories, 200+ houses and government warehouses. The blaze is believed to have been started by Spanish spies in an attempt to stop the funding and support Key West had for the Cuban revolutionaries vying for their independence from Spain.
This is the site of two Curry homes. William Curry, Floridaâ€™s first millionaire, raised his eight children in the original house built in 1869. His son Milton built the current mansion in 1905 keeping the original kitchen from his fatherâ€™s house. It is believed that Aunt Sally, Williamâ€™s house cook, created the first key lime pie when Milton was a young boy. Williamâ€™s children built seven majestic mansions around Key West in the years to come.
The home of cigar manufacturer Teodoro Perez will forever be a symbol of Key Westâ€™s strong ties to Cuba. On May 3, 1883 Teodoro welcomed Jose Marti, the man who was the symbol of Cubaâ€™s bid for independence from Spain, to speak from his balcony to thousands of Cuban sympathizers. Marti is acclaimed as a national hero of the Cuban Revolution and was an integral factor in freeing Cuba from Spanish rule.