As you walk the southern end of Duval, you will find La Te Da, located at 1125 Duval Street. Stop for a moment and read the walking tour sign, as this place is strongly connected to the Cuban Revolution and reminds us of Key West’s role in freeing Cuba from Spanish rule.
This home was owned by cigar manufacturer Teodoro Perez and will always be a symbol of Key West’s ties to Cuba. On May 3, 1883 Teodoro welcomed Joe Marti, who was the symbol of Cuba’s bid for independence from Spain, to speak from his balcony to thousands of Cuban sympathizers.
Marti was a national hero of the Cuban Revolution and was an integral part in freeing Cuba from Spain.
Teodoro was known for his political support of Cuba Libre, or Free Cuba. He created the Cuban Convention in 1884. The Cuban Convention was widely known as El Club Luz y Yara, but privately it supplied revolutions in Cuba with money, arms and audition. All of these supplies went to support Jose Marti’s revolution for a Cuba Libre.
While Marti was in Key West, he gave speeches from the balcony of the home.
Teodoro owned the Perez Cigar Factory, which was one of the largest in the 1890’s. This home is one of the last grand homes built by a cigar factory owner. The others have either been burned by fire, damaged by storms or simply by progress.
Built in 1892, the property not only had this home, but a large factory facing Simonton Street and cottages for the cigar workers on Catherine Street.
The home is where you will find La Te Da, a world-renown hotel and cabaret.
The original Perez residence is now the hotel lobby and piano bar, featuring a unique collection of art from the owner’s private collection.
La Te Da received its name because Cubans called the balcony, where Marti gave his speeches Marti’s Terrace. In Spanish it was La Terrazzo de Marti; which was then shortened to La Te Da.
Stop by and enjoy a great meal at the restaurant, or a cocktail from one of its two bars. The cabaret has world class performers on stage most nights. Looking for a quiet hotel in the heart of Old Town, on Duval, then this may be your place. The hotel offers 15 rooms which are Key West comfortable and elegant. Rooms range in price from standard, deluxe and luxury… something for anyone’s budget.
(credit: keywesthistoricmarkertour.org and lateda.com)