Visited by Presidents, dignitaries, royalty, Prime Ministers and an array of prestigious people, the Harry S. Truman Little White House in Key West holds a special place in the history of the United States.
It was here that President Truman came in search of a place to rest and relax. When our 33rd President arrived he discovered much more than a peaceful island hideaway, he found a place he’d like to call home.
Built in 1890 as quarters for the Naval Base Commander and Paymaster, the Little White House took its place in history early on. In 1912, President William Taft visited the house and in 1918, Thomas Edison lived there for several months as he worked on inventing new weapons for the war effort.
In 1946, the Little White House became Truman’s winter home and he proceeded to stay for 175 days. Always at work, the President held various meetings in the home, met with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, worked on the Marshall Plan and the Truman Doctrine and continually attended to his duties while enjoying the magnificent setting. A setting so magnificent, in fact, that Truman was known to spend an afternoon in town or out on the water fishing with friends. It’s said that he was friendly with the locals and fit right into the island lifestyle.
Although several other United States Presidents visited the Little White House in the years that followed, it ultimately was named for Harry Truman because of his deep affection and adoration for the home and Key West.
Today, visitors from all over the world are able to get a glimpse into Truman’s life and times, see where he and Bess entertained guests, where critical meetings were held and how the business of our government was conducted in this lovely historic building.