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Key West is an island city that lies in the Straits of Florida close to North America. The city of the island lies at the southernmost end of the historical route U.S. Route 1, the longest north-south running road in the United States. This is also the southernmost city within the contiguous United States. The island itself is about 4 miles long and 1 mile wide, the total land mass is also 4.2 square miles. It lies about 95 miles north of Cuba at their closest points. It also lies about 129 miles Southwest of Miami. It contains the Naval Air Station Key West which is an important year-round training site. When Florida became a Spanish territory, Key West was first a fishing and salvage village when it was first settled.

It used to have a natural supply of salt ponds on its eastern side. It has more recently been remodeled and contains shopping centers, retail malls, residential areas, schools, ball parks, and the Key West International Airport. Key West lies right on the dividing line between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. These two bodies of water differ because they contain different currents with warmer and calmer waters in the Gulf of Mexico.

The earliest Key West neighborhoods, on the western part of the island, are broadly known as Old Town. The Key West Historic District includes the major tourist destinations of the island, including Mallory Square, Duval Street, the Truman Annex and Fort Zachary Taylor. Old Town is where the classic bungalows and guest mansions are found. Bahama Village, southwest of Whitehead Street, features houses, churches, and sites related to its Afro-Bahamian history. The Meadows, lying northeast of the White Street Gallery District, is exclusively residential.