Preservation of local history and architecture played a fundamental role in economic revitalization of Key West during the Great Depression. With the assistance, and upon the insistence, of the people of Key West, the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA), along with the Civil Works Administration (CWA), the Historic American Building Survey (HABS), and the Works Progress Administration (WPA), preserved and developed Key West's historic resources into tourist attractions, thus forming the base for today's service economy in the Florida Keys. In so doing and scarcely less important, they would engender a new dimension in historic preservation practice and awareness of local history in 1934. This moment, largely overlooked even by historians, speaks to populism and cultural pluralism advancing into U.S. historic preservation. Historians who have addressed the Florida Keys during the New Deal typically focus on engineering projects and unemployment relief efforts. This article places the preservation of Key West's historic resources in context alongside other preservation campaigns in the early decades of the twentieth century and recognizes innovations relative to financing, consulting, and property management in Key West's preservation program.
Hyland, Matthew G.
"New Deal Historic Preservation for Key West,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 94:
4, Article 4.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol94/iss4/4