Ballast Key is an island in the Florida Keys in Monroe County, Florida, United States. It is the southernmost point of land in the contiguous United States. It is also the only privately owned land within the boundaries of the Key West National Wildlife Refuge, and is being offered on the real estate market for US $15,800,000.
Located in the Outlying Islands of the Florida Keys, it is one of the Mule Keys that are nine miles (15 km) west of Key West. The island's 26 acres (110,000 m2) are privately owned by Key West's eccentric developer David W. Wolkowsky through the David W Wolkowsky Trust. The island is nicknamed Wolkow's Key.
Ballast Key had a cameo appearance in the Bond movie Licence to Kill and it and Mr. Wolkowsky made the pages of the novel as well. "David, it's James, James Bond...I've broken into your island. I hope you don't mind", reads a passage in the book. Over the years, Wolkowsky has hosted numerous artists, writers and celebrities on Ballast Key, including Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, Nancy Friday, Judy Bloom, John Hersey, John Malcolm Brinnin, Richard Wilbur, Robert Stone, British Prime Minister Edward Heath, Prince Michael of Greece, Tony Richardson, Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, The Bee Gees, Gloria Estefan, Natica Waterbury, Lucius Beebe, Lady Caroline Blackwood, and an occasional Vanderbilt, Rockefeller, Mellon, and Duke. For many years, the island was patrolled by "Camila", Wolkowsky's pet Rottweiler.
Tennessee Williams often painted canvases while visiting David Wolkowsky on Ballast Key in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Ballast Key features a main house with four bedrooms and a master suite, and a fully equipped three-bedroom guesthouse overlooking a palm tree-lined sand beach. Water is supplied to the homes by desalination.
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