Naval Base Key West

The U.S. Navy first established a naval base at Key West in 1823 for the suppression of piracy in the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. During the Civil War, Key West was the headquarters of the U.S. Navy's East Gulf Blockading Squadron, which had responsibility for the blockade of the Florida peninsula from Cape Canaveral on the Atlantic coast to St. Andrew Bay in the Gulf of Mexico. Surviving buildings used by the Union navy during the Civil War include: United States Marine Hospital- Designed by Robert Mills, designer of the Washington Monument, this building was constructed in 1845 and was used for treatment of Union military personnel including victims of the yellow fever epidemics which swept Key West during the Civil War; Clinton Square Market- Constructed in 1856-1861, this building was used by the Union navy as a coal depot and storehouse for its vessels on blockading duty.