Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum, Key West

Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum, Key West (must see)

The Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum in Key West is the former residence of Ernest Hemingway, in which he lived from 1931 to 1939.

Presently a National Historic Landmark, this property was built in 1851 by a marine architect and salvage wrecker, Asa Tift. The beautiful French Colonial-style building features 18-inch-thick limestone walls, a metal roof, and large wrap-around verandas. The house was originally used as a family residence and later as a boarding house, a saloon, and a storage facility before it was purchased by Ernest Hemingway and his second wife, Pauline, in 1931.

The Hemingways lived here with their two sons. After their divorce in 1940, the writer moved to Cuba and later to Idaho, while Pauline continued living in the house until her death in 1951. Following that, the property remained vacant, although its ownership, in Hemingway's name, went on until the author's suicide in July 1961. Today, it represents an important part of his legacy.

During his time in this house, Hemingway wrote some of his best-received works, such as "The Green Hills of Africa," "To Have and Have Not," "The Snows of Kilimanjaro," and "For Whom the Bell Tolls."

Visitors to the museum can take a guided tour of the grounds, which include a lush garden and a swimming pool. The house is furnished with many of Hemingway's personal belongings, including his writing desk, typewriter, and hunting trophies.

One of the most famous features of the museum is its population of some 50 six-toed cats, which are believed to be the descendants of a cat named Snowball that was given to Hemingway by a ship's captain in the 1930s. Snowball was a polydactyl cat, meaning he had six toes on each paw instead of the usual five. Hemingway was so fascinated by the cat that he soon began acquiring more polydactyl cats. He believed they brought good luck and kept them as pets.

Today, the cats are considered an important part of the venue and a popular attraction – many a visitor come here specifically to see them. The cats are well-cared for by the museum staff and have their own veterinarian come twice a week to check on them.

Why You Should Visit:
The house is terrific, the Hemingway memorabilia is great, and the guided tour comes at no extra cost; you can afford yourself the time to explore the grounds (with a small pond) on your own, too.

They only take cash at the door, so make sure you have some.
Don't miss the sad but adorable six-toed kitty graveyard in the back.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9am-5pm

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Key West. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum on Map

Sight Name: Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum
Sight Location: Key West, USA (See walking tours in Key West)
Sight Type: Museum/Gallery
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

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