30 June 2023
FLORIDA KEYS — The final episode of a globally available Florida Keys Traveler podcast series — commemorating the Keys’ 200th “birthday” and featuring commentary by a 104-year-old resident — is to be posted on the bicentennial date Monday, July 3.
The Florida Territorial Legislature established Monroe County, encompassing the entire 125-mile-long Keys island chain, on July 3, 1823.
The final podcast, titled “Happy 200th Birthday, Florida Keys!”, is the culmination of a 30-episode documentary-style series that celebrates two centuries of life in the Florida Keys and was recorded on-site at more than 25 locations.
Hosted by veteran broadcaster and journalist Elizabeth Harryman Lasley, it takes listeners through the island chain’s dramatic history from the early 1800s to the present as told through the eyes and voices of Keys residents.
Commentary and perspectives are provided by Florida Keys historians, community leaders and local personalities. Topics include the Keys’ booms and busts, shipwreck salvage, maritime heritage, cultural and artistic expression, sport fishing, diversity and acceptance, Black and Cuban history, and environmental wonders and conservation.
The final episode features 104-year-old Key West resident Onelio Gonzalez, who recalls Ernest Hemingway walking the island streets and former President Harry S. Truman presiding over the country from his Little White House in Key West. He also speaks vividly of riding on Henry Flagler's Florida Keys Over-Sea Railroad, completed in 1912 and stretching from Florida’s southern mainland throughout the Keys.
Produced in collaboration with Armchair Productions and underwritten by the Monroe County Tourist Development Council, the podcast is available on more than 25 platforms including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify among others.
Podcast information: fla-keys.com/podcast
Florida Keys visitor information: fla-keys.com or 1-800-FLA-KEYS
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