Home » Travel » Destinations

Cigar Bungalows: A Little Bit of History

Jul 9, 2008
Since the 19th century, Key West has been one of the historical centers of cigar tradition. At one time boasting more cigar factories per capita than anyplace else in the world, Key West had always played a major role in the cigar industry. Just after the American Civil War, this city became a Mecca for Cuban citizens fleeing their countries long running revolution against Spain. By the late 1870's there were over 100 factories making cigars.

Cuban influence in Key West first began on a massive scale in 1868 when the first war against Spanish authority created a mass exodus. When Cubans faced forced conscription into the Spanish army to fight against their countrymen, thousands of skilled cigar artisans and their families fled their homeland.

On a single September day in 1869, over 2,000 Cubans lined the docks of Havana to flee their mother country. While some left for New York City or New Orleans, a majority boarded steamers for the 12-hour trip to a destination ninety miles to the north, a city Cubans called Cayo Hueso, today's Key West.

The civil war against Spain failed by 1878, however it created a social upheaval in Key West as Cuban immigrants continued arriving intermittently for decades, virtually revolutionizing Key West's social fabric and economy.

Prior to 1868, Key West had less than 500 residents, noted primarily for acquiring wealth from shipwrecks, but a new form of wealth was about to arrive when Cuban immigrants, with talented cigar making skills, arrived by the thousands in the matter of a year or two.

At the peak of the industry, Key West embodied the largest cigar-producing city in the nation. It featured 57 major makers of cigars--many of whom relocated from Havana--and each made use of between five and 500 workers. In 1883 alone, 42 million hand-rolled cigars were created.

To house their cigar laborers, factory owners frequently constructed little cottages--bungalow-style structures principally of frame construction--and rented them out for low sums. To assure an ample supply of laborers, these homes were adjacent to manufacturing plants. These structures still comprise the biggest category of frame vernacular (simple structures, made of wood with few or no ornamental details) in Key West proper.

They were built from termite-proof Dade County pine with high ceilings for ventilation. They were elevated off the ground, allowing air to flow under the houses where roosters and hens lived and were part of the family, raised for eggs or meat or were trained for cock fights.

Although little by today's criteria, these cottages were far better than living circumstances in Havana they were surely far superior to condemnable tenement houses in Northern cities. Many times a cigar artisan would change jobs to another factory simply to have a newer house to live in. These homes were offered for inexpensive rent or with the option to purchase at a reasonable price to maintain a stable work force.

With good homes, good wages and the freedom to affirm the revolution, the cigar artisans existed well. Their clever unions assured substantial strength, and while many union laborers in the North were cowered in deplorable tenement housing, Key West cigarworkers were reveling in Shangri-la. Even their many strikes, which finally helped bring about the decline of the cigar industry, reflected the luxury of their position. In the strike of 1918, work stopped, as was normal, until the union requirements were met. The petitions: no sweeping before 6 a.m., ice in the drinking water, and coal, not wood, fuel for winter heating.

The little cigar bungalows have endured the test of time. Many of these Key West structures are diminutive, only 300 or 400 square feet. They frequently have porches, minuscule yards with picket fences and little or no grass to mow. The bungalows were made from Dade County pine by ship's carpenters, who constructed with a tongue-and-groove technique which lasts.

Property values are high, crime is low and the climate is about perfect. The bungalows are adequate for one or two friendly persons to live in--when you can be outside 350 days of the year. Key West has become such a desirable paradise for artists, the affluent and retirees that these pastoral cottages now cost at least $125,000--if you can get hold of one.
About the Author
For the best cigars, more tips and information on cigars visit http://cigars.gogoodpages.com
Rating:
Please Rate:
(Average: Not rated)
Views: 156
Print Email Report Share
Article Categories
    • Artists
    • Gambling
    • Humanities
    • Humor
    • Movies
    • Music
    • Photography
    • Tattoos
    • Television
    • Classic Cars
    • Motorcycles
    • Recreational Vehicles
    • SUVs
    • Trucks
    • Vans
    • Branding
    • Business Opportunities
    • Careers and Jobs
    • Corporate
    • Customer Service
    • Direct Mail
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Ethics
    • Financing
    • Franchising
    • Home-Based Business
    • Human Resources
    • Import and Export
    • Leadership
    • Management
    • Market Research
    • Marketing and Advertising
    • Negotiation
    • Network Marketing
    • Networking
    • Organizational
    • Presentation
    • Project Management
    • Public Relations
    • Small Business
    • Strategic Planning
    • Team Building
    • Telemarketing
    • Training
    • Data Recovery
    • Databases
    • Games
    • Hardware
    • Networks
    • Operating Systems
    • Programming
    • Security
    • Software
    • Spyware and Viruses
    • Ask an Expert
    • College and University
    • Home Schooling
    • K-12
    • Languages
    • Online Education
    • Psychology
    • Accounting
    • Credit
    • Currency Trading
    • Debt Consolidation
    • Insurance
    • Investing
    • Leasing
    • Loans
    • Mortgage
    • Mutual Funds
    • Personal Finance
    • Stock Market
    • Structured Settlements
    • Taxes
    • Wealth Building
    • Coffee
    • Cooking
    • Gourmet
    • Recipes
    • Wine and Spirits
    • Acne
    • Aerobics
    • Alternative Medicine
    • Beauty
    • Cancer
    • Cosmetics
    • Depression
    • Diabetes
    • Diseases and Conditions
    • Fitness Equipment
    • Fitness
    • Hair Loss
    • Heart Disease
    • Medicine
    • Men's Health
    • Muscle Building
    • Nutrition
    • Skin Care
    • Supplements and Vitamins
    • Weight Loss
    • Women's Health
    • Yoga
    • Arts and Crafts
    • Babies
    • Collecting
    • Elderly Care
    • Genealogy
    • Hobbies
    • Parenting
    • Pets
    • Pregnancy
    • Woodworking
    • Feng Shui
    • Gardening
    • Home Appliances
    • Home Security
    • Interior Design
    • Landscaping
    • Affiliate Programs
    • Article Marketing
    • Auctions
    • Audio
    • Banner Advertising
    • Blogging
    • Broadband
    • Domain Names
    • E-Books
    • E-Commerce
    • Email Marketing
    • Ezines and Newsletters
    • Forums
    • Internet Marketing
    • Link Popularity
    • Pay-Per-Click
    • Podcasting
    • RSS
    • Search Engine Marketing
    • Search Engine Optimization
    • Security
    • Social Media
    • Spam
    • Video
    • Viral Marketing
    • Web Design
    • Web Development
    • Web Hosting
    • Copyright
    • Cyber Law
    • Intellectual Property
    • National, State, Local
    • Patents
    • Regulatory Compliance
    • Trademarks
    • Buying
    • Selling
    • Baseball
    • Basketball
    • Boating
    • Cycling
    • Extreme Sports
    • Fishing
    • Football
    • Golf
    • Hockey
    • Hunting
    • Martial Arts
    • Running
    • Scuba Diving
    • Soccer
    • Swimming
    • Tennis
    • Dating
    • Divorce
    • Marriage
    • Weddings
    • Astrology
    • Buddhism
    • Christianity
    • Faith
    • Hinduism
    • Islam
    • Judaism
    • Meditation
    • Metaphysical
    • New Age
    • Cable and Satellite TV
    • Cell Phones
    • Communication
    • Gadgets and Gizmos
    • GPS
    • Satellite Radio
    • Video Conferencing
    • VoIP
    • Addictions
    • Coaching
    • Goal Setting
    • Motivational
    • Stress Management
    • Time Management
    • Clothing
    • Electronics
    • Fashion
    • Gifts
    • Jewelry
    • Causes and Organizations
    • Environment
    • History
    • Holidays
    • Men's Issues
    • Nature
    • Philosophy
    • Politics
    • Women's Issues
    • World Affairs
    • Article Writing
    • Book Reviews
    • Copywriting
    • Fiction
    • Non-Fiction
    • Poetry
    • Quotes
    • Screenplay
    • Tools and Resources