Historic Key West City Cemetery

Friends, family, and colleagues gathered today at the Historic Key West Cemetery to dedicate a new bench to Russell Brittain, our former sextant who passed away in 2020.

Brittain served the City from 2004 until 2020.  During his tenure, as Deacon Peter Batty noted, Brittain completely revamped cemetery records and cleaned up the grounds while maintaining sensitivity to the families of the folks buried there.

"Russel was a tremendous asset to the community," reads the plaque on the bench.  "His humble unfailing service to his cemetery residents and the survivors who loved them exemplified the best in public service."

Community donations made this quiet resting place, created by artists Craig Berube-Gray, a reality.

Jennine KnowlesVice Mayor Sam Kaufman and Mayor Teri Johnston
Mr. Brittain's FamilyMary Ann Matter, with the Historic Florida Keys Foundation, Father John Baker, and Deacon Peter Batt
A plaque in the sexton's house

Key West's unique and intriguing cemetery lies in the heart of Old Town.  The main entrance and Sexton's office are at the intersection of Angela and Margaret Streets.  The cemetery sits in a nineteen-acre park-like setting where the following people rest side-by-side, echoing the island city's diverse heritage:

  • Bahamian mariners
  • Catholics
  • Cuban cigar makers
  • Millionaires and paupers
  • People of all races
  • Protestants and Jews 
  • Spanish-American War veterans
  • Soldiers and civilians

Establishment of Cemetery 

The Key West City Cemetery was established in 1847 following the disastrous hurricane of October 11, 1846, where the then beach-side cemetery was unearthed due to the winds and seas.  This continues to be an active cemetery with about 100 interments a year.  Within the fenced 19 acres lies between 80,000 to 100,000 people.

Tours:
Guided tours are available by contacting the Sexton's office.  A free comprehensive self-guided tour map is available at the cemetery's front entrance.

Images from the Cemetery