"Birthplace of Pan American World Airways" Key West Things to Do Tip by starship

Key West Things to Do: 531 reviews and 941 photos

  Birthplace of Pan American World Airways
by starship

As we were walking to or from (I really can't remember) Ernest Hemingway's home, we saw the sign, "Birthplace of Pan American World Airways." I had no idea that Pan Am was "born" in Key West. So a little research revealed that indeed, Pan American World Airways began operation with a rented, single-engine Fairchild aircraft in October, 1927, when it flew a single route from Key West to Havana, Cuba!!

Pan Am's founder, Juan T. Trippe, had won a contract from the U.S. Postal Service to carry mail to Havana and Key West was chosen for its proximity to Havana. As business grew, Pan Am's operations were relocated to Miami. Pan Am had a distinquished history pioneering flight routes around the world and operating daily flights which circled the globe. Unfortunately, Pan American World Airways ceased operations in 1991and with that, one of the world's "classic" airlines took with it a little piece of this country's history.

Today the building at 301 Whitehead Street now houses "Kelly's Caribbean Restaurant, Grill & Brewery" owned by none other than actress Kelly McGillis!!

Address: 301 Whitehead Street, Key West
Directions: At the corner of Whitehead Street and Caroline St. Within walking distance of "Old Key West", Mallory Square, the cruise piers, and many other attractions.

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Was this review helpful?

  • Written May 4, 2006
  • Send to a Friend
  • Report Abuse



“Any day spent traveling is a good day!”

Online Now


Top 1,000 Travel Writer
Member Rank:
0 0 1 2 4
Forum Rank:
0 0 4 3 1

Have you been to Key West?

  Share Your Travels