Western Union Schooner, Key West

4.6
#79 of 212 in Tours in Key West
Western Union is a historic schooner located in Key West, Florida, United States. She is berthed at the Key West Bight at 202 William Street. Western Union is the last surviving authentic working tall ship built in Florida. On May 16, 1984, Western Union was added to the US National Register of Historic Places. She is also the official flagship of the State of Florida and the flagship of the city of Key West.HistoryLaunched in 1939 by Herbert Elroy Arch, Thompson Enterprises, Western Union was built to function as a cable tender in order to maintain the communication link between Florida cities, Caribbean islands and South America. The ship's frame was constructed of Cayman mahogany while all of her planking was Longleaf yellow pine from Florida. Two engines were also installed to maintain her steadiness at sea and to facilitate the cable laying process. Western Union was built to replace another schooner, John W. Atkins, in the servicing of undersea telegraph cables. While she was owned by the Western Union Thompson Fish Company, Western Union was almost immediately leased to the Western Union Telegraph Co. From 1939 to 1974, the schooner was used to check and repair the signal cable from Key West to Cuba, as well as to lay undersea telegraph cable throughout the Caribbean. In all, Western Union laid more than of undersea telegraph cable. In 1974 she was converted into a passenger vessel. For the next decade, Western Union carried a large number of passengers, most notably musician Jimmy Buffett.
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5.0
141 reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Boat is the official scooter of the State of Florida. The signage tells the story (see photo) and it’s worth reading.  more »
  • Service was so so. Would hate to be there when really busy. Key lime pie was disgusting. Key Lime Colado tasted like milk and ice. Won't be back here.  more »
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