I just got back from a trip to North Carolina and I’ve got about 18 more posts to write about that. But, I figured I’d mix it up a bit and include a few posts about some places I’ve been other than North Carolina. We’ll be back there next week.
Let’s venture down to the Southernmost tip of Florida to Key West and the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum.
This colonial southern mansion style house was originally built in 1851 by Asa Tift, a marine architect and salvage wrecker, using his profits from salvaging sunken ships — of which there were many off the coast of Key West at the time. Hemingway and second wife, Pauline, received the house as a wedding gift from Pauline’s Uncle Gus in 1931.
It was the first house on the island with indoor plumbing and an upstairs bathroom with running water. The swimming pool on the property was the first pool on the island. It is said that Pauline, as a gift to her husband, had the pool built while he was off reporting on the Spanish Civil War. She supposedly spent $20,000 to have the pool constructed. Upon his return, Hemingway was not pleased with how much money she spent and is said to have yelled, “You might as well have my last cent.” This penny is embedded in concrete near the pool.
It is reported that the Pulitzer Prize-winning author spent the happiest years of his life in Key West. They were certainly very prolific years. Hemingway wrote many of his famous works in Key West including For Whom the Bell Tolls, Death in the Afternoon, To Have and Have Not, and The Snows of Kilimanjaro.
Not only did the famous Ernest Hemingway live here, but so did his famous six-toed cat, Snowball. It is said that Hemingway was given the white cat by a ship’s captain and some of the 40 to 50 cats that still live on the property are descendents of Snowball. Hemingway named these polydactyl, or extra toed cats, after celebrities like Marilyn Monroe, Pablo Picasso, Mark Twain, and Charlie Chaplin. This tradition continues today.
The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum is open from 9am to 5pm, 365 days a year. The admission fee includes a 30 minute guided tour or you can just wander around the grounds.
Dates of Visit: July 2003
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