The beautiful Ernest Hemingway Key West Home & Museum, FL

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  • Post last modified:February 12, 2024
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Ernest Hemingway lived in his Key West house in the 1930s and wrote many books while he did so. Hemingway’s time in Key West was in fact one of the most prolific periods of his writing career. Today, the beautiful Ernest Hemingway Key West Home & Museum is open for visitors to come and see how he lived.

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Visiting the Ernest Hemingway house

The Ernest Hemingway Key West home

The Hemingway house in Key West was a gift to Ernest Hemingway and his wife Pauline from the latter’s well off uncle. Originally the Key West house was built in 1851 from rock and in Spanish Colonial style. But in 1931 when the Hemingways received it the house was in massive need of restoration. So they made an overhaul to get the Key West home to the state and National Historic Landmark it is today.

“You might as well take my last cent”

Ernest Hemingway

One of the most extinctive features of the Ernest Hemingway Key West home is the pool. Hemingway’s pool was built in 1937-1938 for an at the time extreme amount of $20,000. It was the first pool in Key West and Pauline had it installed while Ernest was overseas. When Ernest was back home and realized how costly it was he threw a penny on the ground and declared that: “You might as well take my last cent“.

Ernest Hemingway Key West house
Hemingway’s House in Key West, Florida.

A fun touch when visiting the Hemingway home is that approximately 40-50 six-toed cats live on the property. These cats are descendants of the cat Snow White that a ship captain once gave to Hemingway.

The cats are not shy at all and you find them all over the grounds. So you have plenty of chances to make their acquaintance when you visit the Ernest Hemingway house in Key West.

Ernest Hemingway Key West six-toed cat
Descendant to Snow White, Hemingway’s cat.

Ernest Hemingway lived in the house in Key West from 1931 to 1939. The Key West Lighthouse that was built long before he entered the scene stands just across the road from the old home. As the story goes, the lighthouse was very well-needed, if not necessary, to guide Hemingway home to the house after his wet nights on the town.

During Hemingway’s Key West years he wrote some top novels and poems. From the Key West house famous Hemingway works written include The Green Hills of Africa, The Snows of Kilimanjaro, Death in The Afternoon and to Have and Have Not.

Hemingway book
Hemingway wrote many works from the Key West house.

What to expect when visiting the Ernest Hemingway House

The Ernest Hemingway House, also known as Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, is located in the heart of Old Town Key West. It sits just a block away from the busier Duval Street and with great Key West hotels just around the corner.

To make the most of every visit the general admission fee includes a 30-minute guided tour. The tour takes you around the extremely well kept Hemingway property in Key West.

During a tour your guide tells you about all the stages of Hemingway’s life. As the house is shown interesting events and facts from the beginning to the end are told. And the story about Hemingway is both informative and entertaining.

Ernest Hemingway lived an exciting life and the guides do a great job telling the story. The guides colorfully share the story about Hemingway’s life. Of course with the extra spice of famous Hemingway quotes. So expect a few laughs along the way as you tour the Hemingway house.

The guided tour includes information about all aspects of Hemingway’s interesting life. But you surely don’t have to be a fan of Hemingway to find a visit to Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum inspirational.

Any man’s life, told truly, is a novel

Ernest Hemingway

A visit also captures the bigger context as the museum tells how life was in Florida and Key West in the 1930s. Like Hemingway himself said: “Any man’s life, told truly, is a novel“. And the story when you go to the Ernest Hemingway Key West home is really told truly. Make sure that you don’t miss it when you visit Key West.

Ernest Hemingway Key West bed and cat
Hemingway’s bed in the house.

Tips for visiting Ernest Hemingway Key West Home & Museum

A few tips can make your visit to the Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum even better.

  • Stick around after the tour. The guided tour lasts for about 30 minutes but budget more time than that for the Ernest Hemingway house. The garden is beautiful to explore on your own so make sure that you have time to stick around for a while after the Hemingway tour.
  • Combine with Key West Lighthouse & Keeper’s Quarters Museum. Across the street from Hemingway’s Key West Home you find the best view on the island. And Key West Lighthouse not only offers a fantastic view but also welcomes visitors to the educational Keeper’s Quarters Museum.
Hemingway's workplace
Hemingway’s workplace.

Related: Don’t miss our comprehensive list of the best things to do in the United States. Do you think the Hemingway Home is there?

Other things to do near the Hemingway House

You find many more interesting things to do in Key West near Ernest Hemingway House & Museum. Key West Lighthouse & Keeper’s Quarters Museum is located just across the street from the Hemingway House.

Other fun and popular places to visit in Key West include Mallory Square, Fort Zachary Taylor State Park, Southernmost Point, Sloppy Joe’s, Mile Marker 0 and Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory.

From Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum

Southernmost Point monument
Southernmost Point in Key West.

The Ernest Hemingway Key West Home & Museum FAQ

Where can you visit the former home of Ernest Hemingway?

The former home of Ernest Hemingway is located at 907 Whitehead Street on the island of Key West in Florida.

Why are there so many cats at the Hemingway House in Key West?

Ernest Hemingway received a white six-toed cat named Snow White as a gift by a ship captain. Some of the cats that live on the ground today are descendants of the original cat.

What are the cats with extra toes called?

The cats with extra toes that you find at the Hemingway Home in Key West are called polydactyl cats. Sometimes they are also called “Hemingway cats”.

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