Tour the Truman Little White House
Key West, Florida, USA
- Tour a presidential getaway: Walk the rooms where the Trumans worked and relaxed, and where some of the world's most powerful people have met and stayed since.
- Step into 1949: See Truman's desk with his briefcase, books, telephone, even his famous "The Buck Stops Here" sign. And the poker table and piano he played at.
- Hear the stories left behind: Listen as history tellers relate fascinating anecdotes and provide an intimate glimpse into the life of the most important man of his time.
About this Key West, Florida tour
"White, 7-BR, 9,000 sq. ft. duplex. Near water. Interesting history. Fully furnished with period artifacts. Available for winter season. Presidents only, pls."
The rest of us need to book the Tour to see it.
Originally built as officer's quarters for the Key West Naval Station – an early submarine, blimp, and seaplane base – the "Quarters A" building has hosted notable guests and Presidents for over a century. Taft came in 1912, via the Overseas Railroad, en route to Panama to check progress on the Canal. Thomas Edison stayed for six months in 1918, cranking out WWI weapon designs. But the "Little White House" moniker didn't arrive till winter 1946, when Harry Truman – exhausted from postwar responsibilities and a persistent cold –needed a place to work and rest in a warm climate. Fleet Admiral Nimitz suggested the Naval Station – and the rest is history.
The Key West clime proved good not only for what ailed Truman, but for soothing his jangled nerves from labor unrest, civil rights tensions, and the start of the Cold War. Harry and Bess loved it here, returning for lengthy working vacations twice each winter for six years. And while the house has occasionally hosted Presidents since – including a recuperating Eisenhower after his heart attack and two Kennedy visits during tense brushes with Cuba – it's really still the Trumans' place.
Besides, the surrounding Naval Station was shuttered in 1974 once new nuclear subs got too large to use the harbor here. And modern Presidential security requirements are strict. Camp David's large and tucked deep in the woods. The Little White House is small and in the open – in Key West, one of the world's loosest towns. Yikes.
"If you can't stand the heat, get out of the House"
When President George W. Bush contemplated hosting 2008 trade talks with the leaders of Mexico and Canada at the Little White House, his black-suited advance team did a sweep and came back with an emphatic thumbs-down: too hot inside. No one wants to see a U.S. President sweat during sensitive negotiations. Update: things are a lot cooler here now thanks to a new $300,000 AC system. And a spiffy new set of vintage Adirondack chairs out back.
Please make your way to the Truman Little White House located on Truman Annex, 111 Front Street to meet your guide.
Available from 9:00am to 4:30pm.
Tour requires walking over even surfaces with a limited number of steps, a minimal amount of cobblestones or uneven surfaces, and some standing for extended time. Wheelchair accessible on main floor only.
Tour Participation Requirements
This experience is rated mild. To participate fully, you may be required to walk over primarily even surfaces at a leisurely pace. You may encounter a limited number of steps, cobblestones, or uneven surfaces, and you may have to stand for extended periods of time.
Suitable for all ages.
Full refunds issued for cancellations made 7 full days prior to the date and time of requested services. Cancellations made within the 7-day and 72-hour window will receive a 50% refund of purchase total. Purchases are non-refundable inside of 72 hours.
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