Ernest Hemingway’s home in Key West has been designated a literary landmark by a division of the American Library Association. The author lived in the home during the 1930’s and owned it until his death in 1961.
The home was turned into a museum in 1964 and is currently open for tours 365 days a year. Hemingway’s Spanish colonial villa is located at 907 Whitehead St in the heart of Old Town Key West. The museum’s website features live webcams of the house grounds and the cats who live there – cats who are descendants of the cats Hemingway and his family owned, many with extra toes. The house also features a cat drinking fountain made from an old Spanish olive jar and a urinal from a bar owned by one of Hemingway’s friends.
In a ceremony Sunday, a commemorative plaque was installed next to the house’s front door celebrating the landmark designation. The Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum is the eighth site in Key West to earn literary landmark status; previous honorees include a home owned by playwright Tennessee Williams.
According to Dave Gonzales of the Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum, “[Hemingway] lived here only nine years, but wrote 70 percent of his lifetime works in that 9-year period — the most prolific period of his life.” Works produced in Key West include classics like “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and “The Snows of Kilimanjaro,” as well as “To Have and Have Not,” which was based in Key West and Hemingway’s only novel set in the United States. Hemingway’s unpublished manuscript that became the posthumously published “Islands in the Stream” was found in a vault on the Key West house property.