"Birthplace of Pan American World Airways" Pan Am Tip by starship

Pan Am, Key West: 3 reviews and 4 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 distinguished 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!! The white clapboard house with the red tin roof, and white picket fence along with the Pan Am sign shown in the accompanying photo are all that seem to remain from this piece of aviation history.

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

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  • Updated Feb 27, 2015
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