In the photo below you'll see the oldest house in Key West, located at 322 Duval St. It was built about 1829 and incorporates the influences of colonial architecture found in the Caribbean and New England. For decades, it was the home of Capt. Francis Watlington, his wife, and nine daughters. Watlington was a Customs Inspector, Lightship Captain, harbor pilot, and “wrecker” – one of the Key West salvagers who raced to ships run aground on the reefs, rescued their crew, and benefited from the cargo aboard. At one time Key West was one of the wealthiest cities in the nation due to the treasure natives recovered from ship wrecks! This house is now a museum. Houses in the old town, such as this, have survived over a hundred years of hurricanes due to their sturdy construction, which used tongue and groove construction and hard woods.The home below is now the The Wild Side Gallery, located at 1108 Duval Street. I loved the unusual facade and pointed roof. The gallery features jewelry, pottery, wood art, paintings, batiks, glass, and more.
It is said that many of the characters Hemingway met in Key West from the well to do, to the down-on-their-luck fishermen and wreckers became the characters in his novel "To Have and Have Not" which is about Key West during the depression, as well as protagonists in his succeeding works.
Hemingway disliked tourists peering into his property and had a tall brick fence constructed all around it for privacy. One of the unusual features of Hemingway's house and lush gardens are the descendants of his cats. The story goes that Hemingway made the acquaintance of a sea captain who owned an unusual six-toed tomcat. Upon his departure from Key West, the captain presented the cat to Hemingway. Today many of the numerous cats that inhabit the grounds still possess the unusual six toes.
Here are a couple of web cams on the property --maybe you can spy some of the 60+ kitties on the cat cam!
Click on the next photo to read all about President Truman's "Little Whitehouse" in Key West which is now a museum.The house is located on the Truman Annex, 111 Front Street, and was originally built in 1890 as the first officer's quarters on the naval station. The wooden duplex contained Quarters A for the base commandant and Quarters B for the paymaster. The house has been host to many distinguished guests. Thomas Edison resided in the house during World War I, while working on depth charge research for the U.S. Navy.
In 1946, Harry Truman began visiting Key West for rest and relaxation and returned for 175 days during his presidency. Quarters A was the Winter White House.
President Dwight Eisenhower used the home while recuperating from a heart attack in 1956. In 1961, the Little White House played host to President John F. Kennedy and British Prime Minister Harold MacMillan during the Bay of Pigs incident.
Next is the Cosgrove House, a classical revival house at 321 Whitehead Street. Click on photo to read about it's history.
Below is The Southern Most House, built in 1896 by Judge Vining Harris. In 1939 the Ramos family purchased the property which had been converted into a Cuban nightclub called Cafe Cayo Hueso. In 1954 it was converted back into a private house until 1996, when it was converted into a 14 room hotel.
Some examples of beautiful private homes can be seen in the next three photos.
After touring the neighbourhoods of Key West we walked over to Mallory Square to enjoy the nightly Sunset Celebration.
The Disney Cruise ship was in port that day as you can see in the photo below.
....and many street performers.
We happened to sit near this acrobat and tightrope walker and enjoyed his show.
Here is a nice YOUTUBE video about the sunset celebration