United States Weather Bureau

On February 9, 1870, a joint Congressional resolution authorized a national weather service. As one of the original observation stations, Key West was critical for weather forecasters. The Department of Agriculture purchased this lot in 1903 on the Key West Naval Station (1823-1974) to construct a new office for the U.S. Weather Bureau. Designed by architect Frank H. Jackson, the Classical Revival structure was completed in 1912. The building housed weather observers and rain gauges to report temperatures and storm warnings to the public. Daily marine bulletin broadcasts began in 1913. By 1921 telegraph, cable, and wireless reports provided data to the nation's meteorological services. Transferred to the Department of Commerce in 1940, the Key West Weather Bureau provided observations and hurricane warnings for the Caribbean area. By 1940 the Weather Bureau had played a key role in America’s aviation and commerce. The Navy purchased the property in 1950 for use as Quarters T, housing female personnel. After the base closed in 1974, private owners began preservation efforts. The Weather Bureau building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982 and restored in 1990.