116. Carriage House

Historic Marker number 116 is located at 1128 Olivia Street between White and Frances Streets.

At first glance, this structure may look like a garage, which are few and far between in Key West's Historic District. For nearly 100 years of Key West History, horses, mules, and horse drawn buggies were the main modes of transportation. Automobiles were not a prevalent mode of transportation before the arrival of Henry Flagler's Oversea Railroad in 1912. The only way to get an automobile from the mainland was a 120 mile trip from the southern tip of Florida's mainland by barge or ferry. Many of the local roads were not paved.

This structure shows up as an auxiliary building in the 1890 Sanborn fire insurance maps. It evolved into a two-bay, dirt-floored structure with a storage loft and sliding barn style doors sometime early in the twentieth century. The 8"x8" wooden pillars that support the second floor of this building were placed six feet apart and were not conducive for automobile parking.

Covered utilitarian buildings like these were common throughout Key West's Historic District in the 1800s. As the number of automobiles increased and the need for horse and mule power diminished, a majority of these auxiliary buildings have been lost to time, remodeled beyond recognition, or joined with adjacent buildings. This building has stayed true to its original architectural style retaining its original footprint, shiplap siding, a metal clad roof, and sliding barn doors.