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A visit to where Pan Am began

27 May 2015

A visit to where Pan Am began

24° 33′ 27″ N / 81° 48′ 20″ W

Kelly's Caribbean Bar Grill and Brewery — photo by Joseph May

Kelly’s Caribbean Bar Grill and Brewery — photo by Joseph May

Now called Kelly’s Caribbean Bar Grill and Brewery, this is the building which Pan American Airways (PAA) housed its first international operation which was the Key West FL–Havana Cuba route. Soon Juan Trippe would lead PAA as well as the world into trans Pacific flights, jet airliners, wide bodied airliners and flights affordable to the masses. Recently owned by Kelly McGillis (of Top Gun film fame) though currently under different ownership it is on the corner of Whitehead St. and Caroline St. in Key West FL.

Kelly's – photo by Joseph May

Kelly’s Caribbean Bar Grill and Brewery as seen along Whitehead St. in Key West – photo by Joseph May

Kelly's – photo by Joseph May

Kelly’s Caribbean Bar Grill and Brewery displays its place in aviation’s history – photo by Joseph May

Kelly's Caribbean Bar Grill and Brewery displays its place in aviation's history – photo by Joseph May

A more readable view of the PAA sign at Kelly’s Caribbean Bar Grill and Brewery, though some of the the facts are incorrect (see text below) – photo by Joseph May

Although the birthplace for PAA the sign could use some correcting. David McLay (who has often been helpful on various subjects for us) noted the errors in a comment, but they are signifucant so they are repeated here:

“Unfortunately, the statement on the sign above the sidewalk is incorrect. On 28 October 1927 the Fokker tri-motor had not arrived from the factory in NJ, and Cy Caldwell of West Indian Aerial Express was paid to make the first (mail only) flight in a Fairchild FC-2 floatplane, thus meeting the FAM contract deadline that was about to expire…” — David McLay (retired Pan Am pilot)

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. 27 May 2015 04:46

    Once a Great Company, if Only….

    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      27 May 2015 08:25

      Cash flow…without it all the assets in the world cannot save the business. I think that is the storm Pan Am ran into.

  2. shortfinals permalink
    27 May 2015 06:40

    Well worth seeing, Joe!

    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      27 May 2015 08:25

      Yes it was! Although my information had it they opened at 9am they actually open at 11am. I had been looking forward to breakfast there but had to keep moving — so I may dine there at another time.

  3. 10 June 2015 01:48

    Unfortunately, the statement on the sign above the sidewalk is incorrect. On 28 October 1927 the Fokker tri-motor had not arrived from the factory in NJ, and Cy Caldwell of West Indian Aerial Express was paid to make the first (mail only) flight in a Fairchild FC-2 floatplane, thus meeting the FAM contract deadline that was about to expire…

    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      10 June 2015 07:24

      David,

      Thanks for backstopping me again. I never thought to fact check the sign. I’ll amend the post.

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