We toured the Ernest Hemingway house/museum in Key West today. It proved to be far more interesting than anticipated making the entire trip to Key West worthwhile. Hemingway, his wife Pauline and their 2-sons, lived together on the estate from 1931-1940. They purchased the home for $8,000. Hemingway wrote 50 percent of his literary works during that time in a small makeshift office above (then) a garage. Hemingway left Key West for Cuba circa 1940. Pauline (Pfeiffer) was a fashion editor for Vogue magazine in Paris when they married. Pauline was wife number two. Hemingway was married four times.
The house still contains the furniture that he and his family used. The cats about the home and grounds are descendants of the cats he kept while he lived in the house; including many 6 toed cats like the one Hemingway loved so much called Snowball. Today there are 46 cats that occupy the estate, sleeping on the furniture and coming and going as they please.
Hemingway died July 2nd, 1961, in Ketchum, Idaho by a reported self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Many today still claim it was an accident that occurred while Hemingway was cleaning the shotgun that killed him. He suffered from severe depression; Hemingway’s alcoholism is often associated with his eventual death. The sons sold the home for $80,000 to settle the estate.
One of his most famous works, The Old Man and the Sea, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1953. It was his last novel.
Today, the estate still remains the single largest residential property and tourist attraction on the island of Key West. It is owned by the Dixon family who bought it at auction and operate it today as a museum.
The Hemingway house is a must see, must do, event if you are ever in southern Florida. I think we’ll head to the used bookstore and see if we can find any of his books to read…