A Key West Prohibition-era scene

Photo courtesy of The Haffenffer Collection

Here we see a waterfront view of Naval Station Key West sometime likely around 1925. Visible to the right is the Wickes-class destroyer USS Maury (DD-100) just behind the local twin-masted schooner Eureka, while the tug to the left is USS Saco (YT-31).

Named after famed 19th Century astronomer and hydrographer, CDR Matthew Fontaine Maury and commissioned 23 September 1918, the 1,199-ton Maury was a “flush-deck” or “four-stack” type destroyer common to the Navy until the 1930s and got in one Atlantic convoy run in the Great War before she was sidelined on red lead row. Reactivated in 1920 as a destroyer minelayer (DM-5) in July, 1920, she carried her former destroyer bow number (100) through her active career, which she largely spent on the East Coast– with the exception of a Caribbean cruise in the summer of 1925 that included a stopover at Key West. She later struck in 1930 as part of the fallout from the Washington and London naval treaties and was scrapped in 1934. Incidentally, three other ships went on to carry Maury’s name, including DD-401 and two survey ships, the most recent of which just entered service.

Purchased for use as a yard tug at the Naval Air Station Key West, Saco operated there as “Alexander Brown” until 24 November 1920, when she was renamed “Saco” and re-designated YT-31. She continued yard tug operations until struck from the Navy list on 22 October 1926. She was sold the next year and her ultimate fate is unknown.

As for Eureka, she sailed regularly around the Gulf throughout the 1920s as a coaster carrying various cargoes and I found mention in the Marco County library that she was still pulling houseboats down to the Keys as late as the 1930s. Odds are she crossed paths with Papa Hemingway in her travels and I wouldn’t be surprised if she was still around somewhere down south under a different name.  Key West is funny like that.

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About laststandonzombieisland

Let me introduce myself. I am a bit of a conflict junkie. I am fascinated by war and warfare, assassination, personal protection and weaponry ranging from spud guns and flame throwers to thermonuclear bombs and Soviet-trained Ebola monkeys. In short, if it’s violent or a tool to create violence it is kind of my thing. I have written a few thousand articles on the dry encyclopedia side for such websites as Guns.com, University of Guns, Outdoor Hub, Tac-44, History Times, Big Game Hunter, Glock Forum, Firearms Talk.com, and Combat Forums; as well as for print publications like England Expects, and Strike First Strike Fast. Several magazines such as Sea Classics, Military Historian and Collector, Mississippi Sportsman and Warship International have carried my pieces. Additionally I am on staff as a naval consultant and writer for Eye Spy Intelligence Magazine. Currently I am working on several book projects including an alternative history novel about the US-German War of 1916, and a biography of Southern gadfly and soldier of fortune Bennett Doty. My first novel, about the coming zombie apocalypse was released in 2012 by Necro Publications and can be found at Amazon.com as was the prequel, Chimera-44. I am currently working on book two of that series: "Pirates of the Zombie Coast." In my day job I am a contractor for the U.S. federal government in what could best be described as the ‘Force Protection’ field. In this I am an NRA-certified firearms, and less-than-lethal combat instructor.

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