After an auspicious beginning in 1936, the Botanical Garden fell victim to the city of Key West’s and the federal government’s administrative needs. In response to World War II, in 1945, 5.5 acres were deeded to the federal government for a wartime hospital, which in 1951 became the Monroe County General Hospital. Additional acres were ceded to the Aqueduct Commission for water storage tanks, the Mosquito Control Board offices, and golf course expansion. Post-war neglect took its toll and by 1960 only 11 of the original 55 acres remained and were knee-deep in weeds.

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