January 6, 2017 — (Key West, FL).   Artist and Historian Sharon Wells Partners with Key West Art & Historical Society to Offer Historic Architecture Walking Tour: Naval History is First Up

For history buffs or anyone wanting insight to the classic architecture of Key West, Key West Art & Historical Society will host a series of educational and entertaining walking tours led by local artist and historian Sharon Wells on the third Saturday of each month from January through March.  The first will be offered on Saturday, January 28 from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm, with a focus on Key West’s rich naval history along the waterfront.

This tour will begin at The Custom House Museum on Front Street, the site of court adjudications for Wreckers’ salvage claims the and 1898 Battleship Maine Court of Inquiry.  Tour-goers will walk approximately a mile across lower downtown, Whitehead and Caroline Streets, and Truman Annex, and finish at the Audubon/Geiger House.  Highlights will include the 19th Century naval structures, including the Power Plant, Machine Shop, Smithery, Quarters A and B, Marine Hospital and Surgeon’s Quarters, and the Weather Station.

Wells will reveal the evolution of the waterfront and examine the impact of World War II, the auction and Privatization of the Naval Base in 1986, and rehabilitation of buildings as residential/commercial properties.  Participants can also anticipate Wells’ narratives on Key West’s early settlement as they peruse the spectacular Classic Revival architectural homes and noteworthy landscape along Whitehead Street.

Originally landing in Key West in 1976 to help document the buildings in order to expand the National Register of Historic Places, Wells was immediately taken by the architecture.

“That was my introduction to Key West and I was like “WOW,” this is a fabulous place,” she says.  “I’ve always been a photographer, so I’m always trying to capture what I see.  The architecture and light here is really incredible and that is what inspired me to do these tours.”

Wells eventually combined her many talents of writing, photography, painting and history to open her own gallery (Key West Light Gallery) and founded the now out-of-print Key West Walking & Biking Guide in 1984, upon which The Society tour offerings are based.  Today she turns her efforts to House History research and documentation for historic homeowners, her own art projects, and these tour offerings for Key West Art & Historical Society, of which she has long been a board member.

The tour series is presented by The Society as part of their commitment to providing activities and programs that highlight the abundant history and cultural assets of Key West and the Florida Keys.  Tickets are $25 for members, $35 for non members. Register now as space is limited.  For more information, visit KWAHS.ORG/EDUCATION or call Adele Williams, Director of Education at 305.295.6616 extension 115. Your museums.  Your community.  It takes an island.

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Sharon Wells at the Hospitality House in 1976, the historian, photographer and walking tours host’s first year in Key West.