The Southernmost Point Buoy of Key West
Backstory and Context
The Southernmost Point Buoy of Key West was built out of necessity in 1983 to replace a series of signs that were stolen by tourists. The buoy is not an official point of navigation, but for many, it represents the southernmost point in the continental United States. For others, this point serves as a reminder of the many would-be Americans who have died in their efforts to come to America. The buoy notes that Cuba is only 90 miles away from that point and while it has become a tourist attraction, it is also a reminder that this point of entry to the United States has been reached by many after an arduous journey.
The Southernmost Point of Key West was originally marked simply with a sign, but after that sign was stolen by tourists repeatedly, an old sewer junction was dug up by groups of residents and painted to look like a buoy with large red, black and yellow stripes around it. At the top is the symbol for the Conch Republic, a fictional micronation created as a tongue-in-cheek “secession” by residents of the city of Key West, Florida on April 23, 1982.
Today, the Southernmost Point Buoy of Key West may not be the actual southernmost point in the United States, but it may be the most photographed “buoy” in the country.