Old Town is the historic section of Key West in the downtown area. The Center of which is Duval Street, which is said to be the longest street in the US - running from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean. The street is lined with many shops, restaurants, and bars with lively entertainment. This is where Key West began and grew to be the most populated and wealthiest city in Florida in 1876 when the cigar rolling industry and sponging were king. There is a lot of colorful history in these old streets. The rest of Key West did not develop until after World War II when, what is now known as New Town, was salt marshes that gradually were filled to create land for development.
The character and charm of Old Town have been painstakingly preserved in the largest residential historic district in the United States. Prices per square foot are some of the highest on the island, but the proximity of restaurants, entertainment, and shops within walking distance add to its desirability for part-time and long-term residents.
Efforts were made to preserve the historic architecture in Key West in the 1970s. The Historic Architectural Review Committee, HARC, was put in place to protect the character of these buildings. Today, all new construction or alteration of existing buildings in the historic portion of Key West must first be approved by this committee of local volunteers.
The Truman Annex is a neighborhood in Old Town, Key West, Florida, that was the winter White House for President Harry S. Truman during its days as part of the Key West Naval Station. It is located on the western end of Key West adjacent to Bahama Village and the Old Town historic area. Today it is transformed into a gated residential community of 304 Conch-style houses and 281 condos surrounded by palm trees and white picket fences, which includes The Shipyard, President´s Walk, The Foundry, Mills Place Porter Place, and Harbor Place.
The Annex got its start in 1845 as part of the Fort Zachary Taylor army base. Confederate Florida seceded in 1861, but Key West remained in the Union, thanks to a midnight takeover of Fort Zachary Taylor by federal troops stationed on the island. The base was eventually taken over in 1947 as the "Fort Zachary Taylor Annex" to the Key West Naval Station. New docks had been added in 1932 to make it a home base for submarines. The Annex was renamed Truman Annex after President Truman, who spent many winters there visiting in the 1950s.