Turtle Kraals? Say What!
I hope and pray that all of our local Keys readers and anyone else in Irma’s path to the north made it through her direct hit on Cudjoe Key. We’ve been off-line a few days now with NO electrical power, NO wifi or internet, NO cell phone service & NO A/C. We’re back, here’s one from historic Key West with HOPES that it too made it through the storm!
This Turtle Kraals Museum is the former home of Granday Turtle Cannery. This historic slaughter-house can be found on the northwest side of Key West in the area known as Harbor Walk. Oh yeah, the word “Kraals” is Dutch for ‘pens or corral’. It was here that captured green turtles were kept prior to being exported as a delicacy around the world. The first turtle soup cannery opened in Key West in 1849 and Granday soon came to dominate the industry. With his cannery conveniently situated right on the dock, turtles were brought in from the sea, kept in the kraals along the shore and fed until they went to the cannery. The turtle industry flourished in Key West until its end in the early 1970’s due to diminishing numbers of green turtles in the Caribbean.
Today, the green turtle is an endangered species and fights for survival. Green turtles are rare and beautiful creatures to see, and if you’re lucky enough, you might spot one in the waters off Key West. Thanks to conservation measures, wildlife rescue and hatchling program, the green turtle population has substantially increased. You can view photos from the bygone era throughout the museum. The artifacts outside the museum are FREE to view and read about (meat grinder) as seen below. The building is awesome in its own right as you can see from the above photo and is worth a walk around when on Harbor Walk. Having grown up in Key West as a child (prior to 1970), I was fed a steady stream of turtle steaks, turtle soup, turtle kabob, turtle sandwich, turtle filet, fried turtle, grilled turtle, and the Forest Gump list could go on for an hour as he did with his list of shrimp products eaten… and yes… it tastes like chicken!