There is so much history in Key West. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that this modern paradise has seen so many changes and famous faces over the years. In fact, it’s not uncommon for celebrities to settle down in a house of their own on our little island.
Perhaps the earliest of Key West’s famous visitors was renowned conservationist John James Audubon. His visit in 1832 left a mark on the island that inspired its residents to cherish its environment and rare fauna. In 1846, Captain John Geiger constructed a house in what is now Old Town Key West, one of the early homes that would stand the test of time. Today, Audubon House is a destination that attracts thousands for its historic museum in Audubon’s honor, as well as weddings and events in its tropical gardens.
Then in the 1930s, famed author Ernest Hemingway made his pilgrimage to Key West as part of his personal journey toward Cuba. He became so enamored of its island culture, old Spanish influence and semi-isolated environs that he couldn’t help but make his home here for more than 10 years. Even now Hemingway Home stands as a perfect example of Key West architecture, with colonial influences, wraparound porches, Spanish accents and the first swimming pool ever built on the island.
Finally, no tour of Key West’s famous homes would be complete without mentioning the Truman Little White House. By 1946, President Harry S. Truman was suffering from the rigors of his office and needed respite. Admiral Nimitz, having just completed inspection of Key West’s naval installation, recommended what would become known as Truman’s “little White House”. Truman enjoyed the getaway so much that he would go on to make 10 more by the end of his presidency. Subsequent presidents have seen the wisdom of Truman and have stayed at the home whether on vacation or hosting state visits.
There are many other homes that celebrities have enjoyed in one way or another over the years. Stay tuned to read more about what drew famous persons like playwright Tennessee Williams, writer and sometime-journalist Hunter S. Thompson, actors Richard Burton and Liz Taylor, and a margarita loving musician named Jimmy Buffett, into the homes of Key West.